Poesía de México

Teatro Paraguas presents Poesía de México, a tribute to the poetry of Mexico, opening on October 5, 2012 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque for three performances, and continuing at Teatro Paraguas Studio in Santa Fe for six performances through October 21, 2012.

Poesía de México is the ninth production in Teatro Paraguas’ Poetry Tribute series, which began in 2004 with a tribute to Pablo Neruda on the 100th anniversary of his birth. As in all of the productions, the actors “perform” selected poems, incorporating lights, music, costume, props, narration, and projections which include English translations. Poesía de México is a trilingual production, with poems presented in Nuahuatl, Spanish and English.

Crawford MacCallum, a founding member of Teatro Paraguas, selected the poems, created a script, and directs the production. The cast includes Sara Arana, Xochitl Ehrl, Pamela Sher, Anne Foster, Mario Moreno, Jonathan Harrell, Dan Bohnhorst, and Argos MacCallum. David Briggs provides guitar accompaniment.

Crawford MacCallum has long been haunted by Nezahualcóyotl's plaintive poetry about the evanescence of life on earth. In Poesía de México, he seized the chance to begin with the "Poet King of Texcoco", intending to continue the show with a sort of bouquet of the best Mexican poems through the centuries to the present. On researching the subject, however, he came to believe that that, with the extraordinary exception of Sor Juana, there was almost no truly Mexican poetry between the Conquest and the early twentieth century. There was poetry written in Spanish in Mexico, of course, but it was not clearly distinguishable from poetry written in Spanish in Spain.

However, some four and one half centuries after the death of Nezahualcóyotl, and led by the Nobel prize-winning literary giant Octavio Paz, a poetic explosion began in our sister country to the south that continues to this day. The cast of Poesía de México will present poems of Octavo Paz, Rosario Castellanos, Jaime Sabines and the still active poets Homero Aridjis and Héctor Carreto. The show will close with Javier Sicilia's tragic poem (written this year) in which he vows artistic silence henceforth to honor his son's senseless death in the ongoing 'drug wars':

El mundo ya no es digno de la palabra 
nos la ahogaron adentro 
como te asfixiaron, como te desgarraron a ti los pulmones... 
y el dolor no se me aparta 
sólo queda un mundo 
por el silencio de los justos, 
sólo por tu silencio, y por mi silencio, Juanelo.

The world is not worthy of words 
they have been suffocated from the inside 
as they suffocated you, as they tore apart your lungs ... 
the pain does not leave me 
all that remains is a world 
through the silence of the righteous, 
only through your silence and my silence, Juanelo.

The production is made possible in part by generous grants form the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, Santa Fe Community Foundation, Santa Fe Arts Commission and the 1% Lodgers' Tax, New Mexico Arts, a division of the Dept. of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.