The latest in the Seedbank series, the debut in English of a groundbreaking Indigenous poet of the Americas. In a fiercely personal yet authoritative voice, prolific contemporary poet Mikeas Sánchez explores the worldview of the Zoque people of southern Mexico.
Her paced, steely lyrics fuse cosmology, lineage, feminism, and environmental activism into a singular body of work that stands for the self and the collective in the same instant. “I am woman and I celebrate every vein,” she writes, “where I guard my ancestors’ secrets / every Zoque man’s word in my mouth / every Zoque woman’s wisdom in my spit.”
How to Be a Good Savage and Other Poems examines the intersection of Zoque struggles against colonialism and empire, and those of North African immigrants and refugees. Sánchez encountered the latter in Barcelona as a revelation, “spreading their white blankets on the ground / as if they’ll soon return to sea / flying the sail of the promised land / the land that became a mirage.”
Other works bring us just as close to similarly imperiled relatives, ancestors, gods, and archetypal Zoque men and women that Sánchez addresses with both deeply prophetic and childlike love. Coming from the only woman to ever publish a book of poetry in Zoque and Spanish, this timely, powerful collection pairs the bilingual originals with an English translation for the first time.
This book is for anyone interested in poetry as knowledge, proclaimed with both feet squarely set on ancient ground. The How to Be a Good Savage and Other Poems audiobook read by Mikeas Sánchez, Wendy Call, and Shook will be available everywhere you listen to audiobooks on January 9, 2024.