Women’s Poems of Protest and Resistance: Honduras (2009-2014)

portada Women's Poems of Protest and Resistance (2009-2014) - 2
Casasola Editores 2015, Edited by Lety Elvir and Maria Roof
steeped in blood,
without blushing,
you feel no compassion
for those who open their fist
to beg for life.”
The June 28, 2009, military takeover of the government of Honduras and the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya completely altered Honduran society. In the aftermath human rights abuses as well as the percentage of homicides per capita soared. Although powerless to adequately combat the new regime through force of arms, many Hondurans, especially women, refused to silently accept what was happening to their country. This resulted in, among various forms of protest, a flood of poetry speaking out against current policies, commemorating the heroes and the martyrs of the resistance, and demanding change. In this revised and augmented anthology 53 female poets from the small Central American country are given a platform from which they can voice their cries to the world.

Although every poet represented in the book does not exhibit equal literary strengths, they were included not so much for their aesthetic abilities but for the importance of their voice in the overall movement. Some, like Venus Ixchel Mejia, are professional poets and editors. Others like Suyapa Antunez Cerrato, a gum and candy vendor in Tegucigalpa’s Central Park, are from very different walks of life. All, however, write with passion, and their verse resonates with true and personal emotion. Many have also suffered for their stance. Cerrato, for example, was beaten so badly by the police for her resistance activities that she is now partially blind in one eye. Others have received death threats.

The book is enhanced by the inclusion of the original Spanish versions along with the English translations of the poems, giving bilingual readers a much richer experience. Excellent editing and just the right amount of introductory and supplementary material add to the anthology’s overall effectiveness as well. Poignant and powerful, this important collection offers a valuable and unique perspective on recent Honduran history.

Reviewed by John E. Roper

RECOMMENDED by the USR

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