Thunderweavers/ Tejedoras de rayos
150 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 Feb 2000
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Thunderweavers/ Tejedoras de rayos

The University of Arizona Press
The highlands of Chiapas are smoldering with death.

In the winter of 1997, paramilitary agents ambushed and killed many Mayan villagers in Acteal, Chiapas. Gifted writer Juan Felipe Herrera has composed a stirring poem sequence—published in a bilingual format—written in response and homage to those who died, as well as to all those who call for peace and justice in the Mexican highlands and throughout the Americas.

The sections are written in the voices of four women from a family in Chiapas: Xunka, a lost twelve-year-old girl; Pascuala, the mother; grandmother Maruch; and Makal, an older daughter who is pregnant. Each voice weaves into the others and speaks for still other members of the larger Mayan and Native American family.

Thunderweavers is a story of violent displacements in the lives of the most impoverished residents of southern Mexico.Through these words, readers will learn the meaning of transcendence and continuity in the midst of chaos, suffering, and war.
Fierce, anguished lyrics. . . . Herrera handles complex, wrenching material with a chilling tone that is at once furiously resistant, unsentimental and deeply wounded. The back-to-back English and Spanish allows the reader a fluid read in either language.’—Publishers Weekly

‘Juan Felipe Herrera has done a commendable job of bringing the horror of this time to poetry.’—Foreword

‘The simple, enduring ebb and flow of village life . . . is shattered forever by man’s unnatural acts; the fields are drenched in blood and the people murdered. That Thunderweavers is a hard book to read is a tribute to the power of Herrera’s elegiac verses.’—MultiCultural Review

‘In this poet’s voice we hear the distant thunder of Chiapas growing closer—the church bells and the gunfire—as a Mayan family fights to survive.’—Martín Espada
Juan Felipe Herrera’s work includes poetry, prose, photography, and playwriting. He is a graduate of the University of California–Los Angeles, Stanford University, and the University of Iowa. As a poet and performer, he has traveled throughout the United States, Mexico, and Central America. His work with community centers and art spaces during the last three decades has ranged from organizing mural productions, theatre, and music festivals to bookmaking, multimedia, graphics, and performance workshops. His current books include Mayan Drifter: Chicano Poet in the Lowlands of the Americas (Temple University Press, 1997), Laughing Out Loud, I Fly (HarperCollins, 1998), and Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream (University of Arizona Press, 1999). Currently, he resides in Fresno, California, and lives with his partner, performance artist and poet Margarita Luna Robles.
I. Xunka: The Lost Daughter
II. Pascuala: Mother among Thunder
III. Maruch: Grandmother of the Roads
IV. Makal: Daughter of the Drums
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