By Irma Pineda
Translated by Wendy Call
A story of separation and displacement in two fictionalized voices: a person who has migrated, without papers, to the United States for work, and their partner who waits at home.
Publication Date: January 16, 2024
Nostalgia Doesn’t Flow Away Like Riverwater / Xilase qui rié di’ sicasi rié nisa guiigu’ / La Nostalgia no se marcha como el agua de los ríos is a trilingual collection by one of the most prominent Indigenous poets in Latin America: Irma Pineda. The book consists of 36 persona poems that tell a story of separation and displacement in two fictionalized voices: a person who has migrated, without papers, to the United States for work, and that person’s partner who waits at home, in the poet’s hometown of Juchitán, Oaxaca.
According to Periódico de Poesía, a journal based at UNAM (Mexico’s national university), when it was published in 2007, this book established Pineda “one of the strongest poets working in Zapotec, the [Mexican] Native language with the largest literary production.”
Irma Pineda is a Binnizá poet, translator, educator, and Indigenous rights activist. She is the award-winning author of twelve books of bilingual (Spanish-Isthmus Zapotec) poetry. A faculty member at Mexico’s National Teachers’ University, she served as Vice-President of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues from 2020 through 2022. Her first English-language collection, In the Belly of Night and Other Poems, appeared in 2022. More than one hundred of her poems have appeared in U.S. literary journals—including Cincinnati Review, Kenyon Review Online, Poet Lore, Shenandoah, and Two Lines—in Wendy Call’s English translations. Together, Pineda and Call won the 2022 John Frederick Nims Prize for Translation, for trilingual poems published in Poetry. She lives in her hometown of Juchitán, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Wendy Call (she/ella) translated Irma Pineda’s In the Belly of Night and Other Poems (2022) and co-translated Mikeas Sánchez’s How to be Good Savage and Other Poems (2023). She is author of the award-winning book No Word for Welcome: The Mexican Village Faces the Global Economy (2011) and co-editor of two anthologies: Telling True Stories (2007) and Best Literary Translations (forthcoming from Deep Vellum, 2024). A 2015 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow and 2018-2019 Fulbright scholar in Colombia, she lives in Seattle and Oaxaca.