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When I say or write the word Mexico, I always think that the word itself is an enchantment. It sounds beautiful, looks striking on the page and always makes me feel I should salute or kneel. The word represents the country perfectly, as Mexico has produced some of the world’s great art and literature and continues to do so.
This special Mexican issue of Litro Magazine speaks to the many voices writing on Mexico in different languages and forms. For some reason, playwrights and screenwriters are so rarely included in literary magazines. Here, however, we include a short dialogue by leading playwright Ximena Escalante. This edition also showcases Chloe Aridjis, a Mexican writer who writes in English. Aridjis, like myself and others such as DBC Pierre or the screenwriter and director Rodrigo Garcia, is a part of a tradition that can claim the English language inside a Mexican context.
Litro #142: Mexico also represents Mexico’s indigenous world thanks to a poem by Natalia Toledo, who writes in both Spanish and Zapotec, her mother tongue. Aline Davidoff’s piece on The Herrera-Harfuch Art Collection honours the unique bond that painters and writers have always had in Mexico. This is the very first time an article on the unique collection has appeared in print.
As a former President of PEN Mexico during the time when the killing of journalists began to escalate, and as the author of a novel on stolen girls, I care about the lost and disappeared voices of Mexico. Therefore, this issue contains an unpublished poem – unknown even in Spanish – written by Samuel Noyola, whose work was admired by many poets including Octavio Paz. Noyola disappeared in 2007 and it is presumed that he died homeless on the streets of Mexico City. The poet and journalist Alicia Quiñones gave me this poem. The cover photograph by Miguel Calderon of a vulture on a highway sign that spells Acapulco was chosen for Litro before the recent violent events in Mexico’s State of Guerrero. Now it feels prophetic.
There is such a great wealth of talent among the emerging writers in Mexico that it is hard to decipher and recognize the voices that will take a place in the canon; but here we include the works of poet Sara Uribe and fiction writer Daniel Krauze to represent the younger, newer voices emerging in Mexico.
Lastly, while it is obviously impossible for a small selection of this kind to represent the diverse voices writing in Mexico today, it is interesting to note that, months after the selection for these pages was made, two writers were awarded important literary prizes. Alvaro Enrigue was given the Elena Poniatowska Prize, and Luis Miguel Aguilar was awarded the Ramón López Velarde Prize for poetic excellence.
Mexico City, 2015