23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Pura López Colomé

Pura López Colomé was born in Mexico city in 1952.  She spent her childhood and teenage years in the Mexican capital.  During the school holidays she always went to Yucatán, the home state of her father, whose native tongue is Maya, and her mother who was of Catalan-Irish descent.  Following the premature death of her mother, her father sent her to a boarding school in Yankton, South Dakota to complete her schooling. She then returned to Mexico to study Spanish and Latin American Literature at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City.

During 1970s Colomé participated in Alicia Reyes’ literature workshop in the Capilla Alfonsina Biblioteca Universitaria.  In 1977 she received the Alfonso Reyes Mexican literature prize for young writers in the essay category for her work ‘Diálogo socrático en Alfonso Reyes’ (Engl: Socratic Dialogue with Alfonso Reyes) which was subsequently published in the collection ‘Más páginas sobre Alfonso Reyes’ (Engl: Further Pages on Alfonso Reyes’), El colegio Nacional, Mexico 1996.  Since the early 1980s she has regularly published poetry, reviews and translations of English, French and German prose and poetry in the ‘Sábado’ literary supplement of the newspaper ‘Uno más uno’. Her literary articles have appeared in numerous Mexican journals, including ‘Nexos’, ‘Vuelta’, ‘Pauta’, ‘Viceversa’ and ‘Letras Libres’, as well as in the literary and cultural supplements of the newspapers ‘La Jornada’, ‘Reforma’ and ‘Novedades’. She has been living in Cuernavaca, Morelos (Mexico) since 1990.

Colomé has translated poems by William Carlos Williams, short prose works by Samuel Beckett, selected essays by T. S. Eliot and works of William H. Glass, Robert Hass, Philip Larkin, Gershom Sholem, Bert Brecht (in collaboration with Alberto Blanco), Hilda Doolittle, Frank O’Hara, Robert Creeley, Malcolm Lowry and Louise Glück. In 1992 she was awarded the Veracruz poetry translation prize for her sensitive Spanish renderings of the poems of the Irish Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney.  She focuses on English-language poetry from both sides of the Atlantic.

Colomé belongs to a new generation of young Latin American authors who have been shaping, influencing and promoting literary and poetic activity in various major Southern Hemisphere cities since the 1980s.  Others include Jorge Boccanera, María Rosa Lojo and Víctor Redondo in Buenos Aires, Marylin Bobes and Reina María Rodríguez in Havana, Humberto Ak’abal in Guatemala City, Luis Bravo in Montevideo, William Ospina in Bogotá and Fernando Rendón in Medellín.  Coral Bracho, David Huerta, Myriam Moscona and Marcelo Uribe thrive in the poetic megalopolis Mexico City.

Since 1985 Colomé has published five collections of poetry, which are due to appear in one volume in Mexico.  The first bilingual section of her poems, with English translations by the North American poet Forrest Gander, will be published by Graywolf Press as ‘Death of the Kiss’. Her lyrical language is pure, yet sensitive, knowledgeable and profound.  Her work welds intensity and intelligence, moderation and discretion, subtle strictness and lucid musicality. Her poetry is an intimate form of public self-discovery, a quiet and mature observation of how the wonder and the pain of the world interact.

© international literature festival berlin


El sueño del cazador
Cuarto Menguante
México, 1985

Un cristal en otro
Ediciones Toledo
México, 1989

México, 1994

Juan Pablos Editor
México, 1997

Éter es
CONACULTURA, Colleción Práctica Mortal
México, 1999

Tragaluz de noche
Fondo de cultura económica
México, 2003

Übersetzerin: Petra Strien