Submission Title

"Un pueblo mudo es un pueblo muerto": Maya K'iche Poetic Witness

Session Number

SS4

Location

Weyerhaeuser 303

Abstract Number

SS4-c

Abstract

A critical reading of poems by Humberto Ak’Abal will be augmented by historical formation and creation of Maya K’iche identity from the turn of the twentieth century through the civil war. Three interrelated aspects of identity are highlighted: nature as testimony and language, individual versus collective identity, and the elevation of feminized domestic spaces. Greg Grandin’s work concerning K’iche elite at the turn of the century forms a basis for analyzing later shifts in identity representation and formation. Ak’abal’s poetry, both technically and thematically, is analyzed as a key contemporary literary voice of witness. Close-reading of five poems reveals the simultaneous honoring and re-imagining of historically understood Maya K’iche identity. This in turn makes a case for Ak’abal as a necessary poetic voice whose work offers alternative understandings of indigenous and Guatemalan identity in our current moment.

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Apr 23rd, 10:45 AM Apr 23rd, 12:15 PM

"Un pueblo mudo es un pueblo muerto": Maya K'iche Poetic Witness

Weyerhaeuser 303

A critical reading of poems by Humberto Ak’Abal will be augmented by historical formation and creation of Maya K’iche identity from the turn of the twentieth century through the civil war. Three interrelated aspects of identity are highlighted: nature as testimony and language, individual versus collective identity, and the elevation of feminized domestic spaces. Greg Grandin’s work concerning K’iche elite at the turn of the century forms a basis for analyzing later shifts in identity representation and formation. Ak’abal’s poetry, both technically and thematically, is analyzed as a key contemporary literary voice of witness. Close-reading of five poems reveals the simultaneous honoring and re-imagining of historically understood Maya K’iche identity. This in turn makes a case for Ak’abal as a necessary poetic voice whose work offers alternative understandings of indigenous and Guatemalan identity in our current moment.