Translated by Arturo Mantecón
Artwork by Maceo Montoya
Introduction by Ilan Stavans
230 Pages: $16.95 (April 2018)
The poetry of legendary Mexican poet Mario Santiago Papasquiaro is little known in the USA. Closest friend of Roberto Bolaño (he is Ulises Lima in his Los Detectives Salvajes), Mario Santiago’s poetry flies in the most hallucinatory manner out of the tangled mass of Mexico’s heritage. Fusing the supernal and infernal energies of César Vallejo and Allen Ginsberg, this non-stop automatic-rifle poetry has few peers in contemporary poetry anywhere, and the meticulous translations of Arturo Mantecón superbly render this often difficult stylist into an English equally explosive and eloquent. With this potpourri of past and present, imagined and unimaginable visions, Santiago puts himself over the edge, racing as it were to his own destruction.
—Ivan Argüelles, author of The Invention of Spain and Madonna Septet
Mario Santiago writes not only with brilliance, but pays homage to his many influences—from the Beat poets to Artaud—whom he turns into his family in a theater of cultural references and, as a communist, makes them all part of his fundamental, historical rage for justice, love and transformation in an epoch steeped in drugs, lunacy and spontaneous righteousness. Arturo Mantecón’s majestic translations reveal Santiago’s mastery of lyricism and poetic drama. If you find yourself reading yourself when you read this book, don’t say I didn’t tell you so—that’s how great Santiago is.
—Jack Hirschmanm, author of All That’s Left and Front Lines
Every line of these poems pack little explosions of beauty, thought, rage, joy, that coalesce into a radiant blaze. I found myself bouncing in my chair as I read, carried by the language’s irresistible exuberance, and Arturo Mantecón’s on-fire translations. These poems make fresh a youthful spirit and language from a lost time. Mario Santiago still drives solemn pompous Mexican critics crazy; some are deeply annoyed that his friend and champion Roberto Bolaño’s fame have brought these poems new attention. I love the poems that take on some of Mexico’s sacred foundational myths, and far from merely subverting them, unexpectedly humanize these majestic figures and bring them so close, in poems that drum their honest, brilliantly jiving yet humble beat inside of you: “the children of my children will transmit my vision in their own way.”
—Francisco Goldman, author of Say Her Name and The Art of Political Murder