by Sergio Altesor Licandro
translated by Mary Hawley
A cardboard box is sealed shut with packing tape for twenty-five years. It holds the author's sketchbooks, the relics of the career as a visual artist that he has abandoned. He brings the box with him over many years of travel to various parts of the world, until at last he returns to his home country of Uruguay and stores the box on a shelf, where it is forgotten. Then one night, after a friend sends a message requesting illustrations for an online magazine, he opens the box and pulls out twenty-five sketchbooks. As he pages through them, stories unfold before his eyes, from travel notes about different places (Paris, Managua, Copenhagen, Mexico, Stockholm) to erotic scenes, forests, plants, Madonnas, cats, nudes, prison cells, prisoners, and portraits of friends and strangers. He spends several hours leafing through the drawings as if he's never seen them before, as if he's reading someone's comic book describing the world. He realizes the act of carrying the box around the world for so long actually means something, and he decides to publish the drawings. He intersperses thematic texts among the drawings, drawn from his poetry, fiction, and essays, creating a counterpoint for the stories contained in the images.
Sergio Altesor Licandro (Uruguay, 1951) was imprisoned in 1971 for his political activities, He wrote his first collection of poetry in the Punta Carretas prison and the military prison in Punta de Rieles. In 1976 he was deported to Europe and settled in Sweden, where he studied at University College of Art, Craft and Design, and taught experimental drawing and printmaking. He has published eight collections of poetry and three novels, receiving many awards for his writing. The original Spanish version of this book, Cuadernos de dibujo (1978-1993) was first published by Yaugurú in 2020.
Shards of Light / Astillas de luz (Tia Chucha Press)
Edited by Olivia Maciel; translated by Olivia Maciel and Mary Hawley
From the back cover: This bilingual anthology presents the work of twenty-one poets in Chicago's thriving literary community whose cultural and linguistic heritages are rooted in Latin America and Spain. The poems collected here are dazzling and unpredictable, forming an iridescent mosaic that transcends language, borders, and boundaries.