guest-edited by Mariela Griffor, including
new translations of Nicanor Parra, Pablo Neruda, Roberto Bolano and others in this special double issue.
The issue will feature Chilean Poetry that will translate, for the first time, new poems by Neruda, Gabriela Mistral, Roberto Bolano,
Enrique Lihn, Carmen Berenguer, and many more wonderful voices. Contributing translators include Mark Rudman,Carolyn Forche, David Young,
D.H. Powell, Edward Hirsh, Jericho Brown, Katie Ford, Jim Schley, Alicia Ostriker, Patricia Fargnoli, Jane Mead, Tim Liardet, Gary Soto, Peter Campion,
Derick Burleson, Mark Irwin, Ruth Joynton, and Jean Valentine.
Mayapple Press 2007
HOUSE is a love affair between the poet and Chile. While making real the struggles of war,
becoming an expatriate and the alienation that accompanies the immersion in a new culture, Griffor
also conveys the beauty and nostalgia she feels for her home country. She commands our attention, and
we share her sadness, compassion, anger and hope. Influenced greatly by the American lyric tradition,
Mariela's poems play softly and skillfully; the smooth strum lingers in the readers ears. Mariela Griffor
is the author of EXILIANA. Born in the city of Concepcion in southern Chile, she attended the University of
Santiago and the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. She left Chile for an involuntary exile in Sweden in
1985. Ms. Griffor lives in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, where she is founder of the Institute for Creative
Writers at Wayne State University and Publisher of Marick Press.
In terms of subject matter, House is about pillow talk, stars in the sky, and childhood innocence. It is about torture chambers, bloodshed done in the name of God.
It praises love for an aunt, a grandmother, a daughter, a friend. Its prayers need answers from a God sometimes not felt or found. Have we offended You?, the poet pleads.
The words of House spring from a mind whose mother tongue is not English—therefore we can forgive her sometimes far from bull’s-eye diction. For example, in “Twenty-Nine:
Yellow Ribbons,” she writes, My skin is curdled with hope. This expression is odd. When speaking of hope, a writer should select a word more positively charged, such as
“brimming” or “shining.” Yet these kinds of mistakes can be forgiven, as Griffor’s art does the important job of reminding one that murder is murder in any country; tears are
tears no matter what the nationality. more ...
— Heather McMacken of thedetroiter.com
Mariela Griffor transcends the terrible and sordid hell of our sociopolitical everyday to penetrate
into territories of moving sands...zones where the imagination leaves the body's prison to lead us to new
experiences, subtle, hopeful, contradictory, and in the end, very human.
— Camilo Marks author of Altiva Musica de la Tormenta
The author's voice is ours: And, yet, the politics are inescapable, their deeply felt human urgency
pierces the reader (at least this reader) with the sense of recognition, compassion, understanding. The love
poem and political poem are brought together in these lines and their unity is clear, and also somehow
instructive to many American poets of our time. — Ilya Kaminsky author of Dancing in
Luna Publications, Toronto CA
The poetry of Mariela Griffor, a Chilean poet by way of both Sweden and the
United States, refreshes itself at every turn: at once vivacious and
soulful, candid and lyrical, fraught with the exigencies of exile, but
perfumed by memory. — Molly Peacock author of Cornucopia
It is not just her lyrical voice and not her biography that attracts me to
Griffor's work it is "her ability to write about love in the time of war,
attempting to make of memory's violent imprint into language an art. Reading
this book, I am most interested in Griffor's constant pursuit of both
tenderness and truth. — Ilya Kaminsky author of Dancing in Odessa
An incredibly powerful and complex journey beyond the window of exile into
the depths of the experience. Exiliana is brilliant and maddening in its
uncensored truth about love and death, war and life-brilliant in the
richness and detail that can only come from a mind rare enough to focus on
both, the war-torn graves of Latin America and the politics of thrown away
pink sofas on the streets of Detroit, maddening in the way it forces us to
continuously question the reality of our own lives. This is a significant
work by any standard. — Rainelle Burton author of The Root Worker
When one is stripped of country, home, family, lover, to what does one cling? Mariela Griffor
will always have language, her chosen tool to rebuild. In this, in her poetry, she takes root. She has found
a new home, even as her heart aches for another home in the distance of time and place. She has made her home
in a new country, surrounded herself with a new family, and her poetry attests new love.
In the passing of the years
the grief does not disappear.
Griffor has lived a life as complex as a novel, rich and filled with loss and tragedy and redemption.
Born in Concepcion, a city in southern Chile, she was involved in politics from age 15, fighting for
democracy and against the Pinochet dictatorship. Her first great love was a comrade in arms, and he was
killed as such, even while she, still in her early 20s, carried his child and was forced into exile.
Life tossed her first to Sweden, then a new love to the United States, where she now lives in Grosse Pointe, Michigan,
today a poet and publisher, founder of Marick Press. —Zinta Aistars for The Smoking Poet
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Last Update: June 2012.
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