Antigona_FrontCover_GalleryAnna: Can you tell me a little bit about Antígona González?

Xochitl: Antígona González is a book of poetry from Mexican poet Sara Uribe and translated by John Pluecher that uses the classic Greek tragedy, Antigone by Sophocles, as a container to speak about the disappeared of Mexico. In the classic, Antigone is a princess that breaks her uncle’s edict in order to bury her brother Polynices after he has been declared a traitor and his dead body abandoned in the desert. In Antígona González, “Polynices is identified with the marginalized and disappeared,” while Antígona represents the sisters searching for their disappeared brothers: “I didn’t want to be Antigone / but it happened to me.”

Anna: Why did you select this particular poem to share?

Xochitl: I am the daughter of Mexican immigrants, and the immigrant journey and the dangers of the border are topics I write about. I wanted to honor work being written from Mexico and to honor work being written in Spanish. I picked this particular poem because it’s the opening piece, and it really gives you a sense of the collection. Also, the instruction to “Count them all” is so powerful. The Mexican and the US governments want us to look the other way and let the disappeared disappear, but it’s our job to count dead, to honor the them, and to say their names.

Anna: This poem left me shredded. Can you expand a little on the circumstances around Uribe’s work?

Xochitl: The work is about the job of honoring the dead and disappeared. In Mexico, men and women disappear everyday. According to this New York Times article, “at least 1,400 bodies were dug up from mass graves across the country between 2009 and 2014. And those are just a fraction of the 176,000 murders that police have counted here over the last decade.” It’s an every day reality and horror for many people in Mexico and even for some here in the US. Uribe uses the classic Antigone to speak about those left behind, those charged with with job of having to figure out a way to honor their missing family members. Antigone is a very power piece of work because it’s about breaking the law of the land in order to honor a higher law, which I might say is in itself a feminist act, and the same is true in Antígona González. Over a hundred thousand dead bodies and the government refuses to take responsibility for them, refuses to even acknowledge them or their families, so what does a sister, a mother, or a daughter do? Read Rest of Article and Listen to Poem Here

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