The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems
by Natalia Toledo
translated from the Spanish and Isthmus Zapotec by Clare Sullivan
featuring a preface by Esther Allen
NEA Translation Grant winner!
Natalia Toledo’s The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems, in an award-winning translation by Clare Sullivan, describes contemporary Isthmus Zapotec life in lush, sensual detail. In Toledo’s poems of love and loss the world’s population turns into fish, death is a cricket, and naked women are made of wet magma. The Black Flower won the Nezhualcóyotl Prize, Mexico’s highest honor for indigenous-language literature, in 2004.
"...this collection is clearly the result of intense and masterful poet/translator collaboration, and it is a collection which I will surely revisit for years to come." -Katrine Øgaard Jensen, Three Percent at University of Rochester
Natalia Toledo has written four books of poetry and two of prose, all appearing in bilingual Isthmus Zapotec-Spanish editions. In 2004 she won the Nezahualcoyótl Prize, Mexico’s most prestigious prize for indigenous-language literature, for her book The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems. She has read her poetry around the world. Her work as a jewelry and clothing designer and chef reiterates the lively imagery of her poetry. She lives in Mexico.
Clare Sullivan is Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Louisville and Director of their Graduate Certificate in Translation. She has published translations of Argentina’s Alicia Kozameh and Mexico’s Cecilia Urbina. She received an NEA Translation Grant in 2010 to work with the poetry of Natalia Toledo. She lives in Louisville, KY.
Cover art by Francisco Toledo