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This collection is a beautifully crafted exploration of life in the Texas-Mexico borderlands. Written by Norma Elia Cantú, the award-winning author of Canícula, this collection carries the perspective of a powerful force in Chicana literature—and literature worldwide.
The poems are a celebration of culture, tradition, and creativity that navigates themes of love, solidarity, and political transformation. Deeply personal yet warmly relatable, these poems flow from Spanish to English gracefully. With Gloria Anzaldúa’s foundational work as an inspiration, Meditación Fronteriza unveils unique images that provide nuance and depth to the narrative of the borderlands.
Poems addressed to talented and influential women such as Gwendolyn Brooks and Adrienne Rich, among others, pour gratitude and recognition into the collection. While many of the poems in Meditación Fronteriza are gentle and inviting, there are also moments that grieve for the state of the borderlands, calling for political resistance.
About the Author
A daughter of the borderlands, scholar and creative writer Norma Elia Cantú currently serves as the Norine R. and T. Frank Murchison Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Trinity University in San Antonio.
“Again, healer, teacher, foremother Norma Cantú stitches together the art of documentation. Here, she weaves together mediations on the literal/spiritual/intellectual/metaphorical borderlands. A gathering of love poems carving a space to grieve and to celebrate, these poems honor the land, the people in it, and women’s bodies in bloom and in decay in all the places we exist and in all our forms—algebra teachers and poets and pecan shellers and lovers. Like the tendrils of a vine, each poem sprouts its own delicate truth.”—Laurie Ann Guerrero
“Norma Cantú offers us a prescient and poignant sweep of la fronteriza. These are poems celebrating border life in song, hushed ruminations, elegant verse. Cantú’s offering is one that gives us hope and strength in the midst of difficult times.”—Amelia M. L. Montes
“In this extraordinary first collection of poetry, Norma Cantú joins forces with descendants of Aztec scribes who are writing the ‘new codex’ of the borderlands. ‘Here they buried my afterbirth,’ she writes, in the land of her ancestors where ‘I shall remain until the hour of my death.’ Cantú’s fierce connection to the land gives rise to a poetry of witness, visionary in its evocation of landscapes, immigrant journeys, and women’s lives and loves. In an eerily prescient poem, she writes, ‘But the wall went up, / and hardly anyone noticed.’ Thankfully, nothing is lost on Cantú. She is ever attuned to life along a line that both tears us apart and draws us together. Each poem is a little miracle, an invitation to walk through walls, to find our voices, and to write our own songs of the borderlands.”—Demetria Martinez