Claribel Alegría has often spoken in interviews of the writer’s role as the voice of the voiceless, of poetry as a weapon against repression, oppression, exploitation, and injustice. She considers herself a feminist, which she defines as wanting equality for women and men, and she both writes about women and promotes the work of women writers. Her poetry reflects her experience of exile, loss, and absence, often with a sense of nostalgia, or of longing for a happier, more innocent past. Much of her work is at least partially autobiographical, and memory serves as a powerful means of preserving the past.
Flores del volcán/Flowers from the Volcano
The first translation of one of Alegría’s works into English was Flores del volcán/Flowers from the Volcano, a bilingual edition. It is through the efforts of the translator, prizewinning poet Carolyn Forché, that Alegría first came to the attention of readers in the United States. Many of the poems chosen for this collection come from the 1978 collection Sobrevivo. The title of the work is an indication of its contents: The volcano represents Central America as a region and El Salvador as a country, as part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, but the volcano also represents the eruption, violence, and death caused by the civil wars of the 1970’s and 1980’s in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador, while flowers suggest beauty, hope, and life.
In the title...
(The entire section is 1476 words.)
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