Posted February 16, 2021.

2020 Fall Contest Winners in the Spanish Language Category

2020 Fall Contest Winners in the Spanish Language Category
Judge: José Angel Araguz

First Place: “Sin ataduras / I don’t want to belong” by Ma. Concepcion

Sin ataduras
No quiero pertenecer
quiero ser libre
más allá del amor
más allá de la patria y la familia
sin la soga del ritual
desplazarme en la ingravidez de la niebla
sobre el curso de los ríos
sin prisa
como savia en el tronco de la secuoya
arenas colgadas del viento
arrastrando playas y desiertos hasta las ciudades
al otro lado del mundo.

No quiero ser ave
quiero ser el canto
el vuelo más allá de las alas
libre del mito y del drama
del hombre que quiso volar
pero fue impedido por sus creencias

no quiero una comunidad
una selva de enjambres y manadas
quiero ser la humedad de la lluvia
la transparencia de la gota
el perfume de la rosa y el clavel
ardiente bálsamo de copal
rayo cósmico que remonta el universo
la explosión de la estrella
quiero ser
sin sentir remordimiento por la destrucción
ni ambición por construir más nada.

No la montaña sino la altura
la mirada del águila
no la palabra sino su fuerza
y hacerme un mundo
conjurar al alma
alentar el espíritu hasta su renacimiento.

No quiero ser lo que pienso
la idea no me pertenece
y soy lo que está más allá
de lo que puedo pensar.

I don’t want to belong

I don’t want to belong
I want freedom
beyond love
beyond motherland and family
without ritual ties
smoothly hovering in the weightlessness of the mist
of the fog
over the streams of the rivers
without any hurry
as the sap is in the Sequoia’s trunk
the sands hang from the wind
dragging away beaches and deserts to the cities
of the other side of the world.

I don’t want to be a bird
but the singing
the flying beyond wings
free from the myth and drama
of the man who wanted to fly
but was prevented by his beliefs.

I don’t want a community
a jungle of hives and herds
I want to be the moisture from the rain
the transparency of the water drop
perfume of rose and carnation
the burning balsam of copal
the cosmic ray beyond the darkness of the universe
the explosion of the star
I want to be
without feeling any remorse for the destruction
neither ambition for building more than nothing.

Not the mountain but the highs
the sight of the eagle
not the word but its strength
and build a world for myself
to conjure the soul
to encourage the spirit to a new birth.

I don’t want to be what I think
I don’t own the idea
I am what it is further beyond
my thoughts.

Judge’s Note: This poem is a tour-de-force, working through its turns, seeking deep into its images and metaphors to evoke restlessness. Each leap is ambitious in both sound and sense, making for a captivating read.

Poet’s Biography: Concepción Sámano (Jaral del Progreso, Guanajuato, Mexico, 1971)
She studied philosophy at the University of Guanajuato. She has published: The days of yellow light (2001), Melusina or the perennial aroma of carnations, The darkness of origin (2001), and The body that takes me (2013). She had grants twice by the State Fund for Culture and the Arts (poetry, 2001 and 2003). Her articles and poems have been published in various periodical and independent publications.

Second Place: “Nadie vendrá salvo la muerte / No one will come but death” by German Rizo

El ruido de las guerras avanza
hacia el llanto repentino
resuena una bestia oscura
se adentra sobre la triste lluvia
imposible escapar ante el yugo
que atemoriza su llegada.

Tierra habitada por cadáveres /
aun la noche ametralla
sus últimas ruinas.
El dolor surge de las tumbas/
el llanto es un desorden fallido.

Las luces son una red
de murallas sobre la ciudad.

Conjugar la palabra muerte
es el destierro de cada queja
y las voces arrastran
la soledad de los pajaros.

Sangre /
noticias a merced de una puerta
cuando niños juegan a ser angeles.

El eco es la evidencia
de un disparo sumergido
en el reflejo del polvo.

Habitantes de una sola bandera
llena de preguntas
simbolo enredado en las cenizas.

de una profecia
hasta maldecir las llagas
en la zozobra de una patria.

No one will come but death

The racket of wars advances
towards unexpected weeping
a dark beast resonates
embeds itself in the gloomy rain
impossible to escape from the yoke
that terrifies its arrival.

Land inhabited by corpses /
even the night opens fire on
its lingering ruins.
Pain emerges from the graves /
crying is a broken malady.

The lights are a network
of ramparts over the city.

Conjugating the word death
is to banish every complaint
and voices haul
the solitude of birds.

Blood /
news is at the mercy of a door
while children play at being angels.

The echo is the evidence
of a submerged volley
in the reflection of dust.

Citizens of a single flat
Chockfull with questions

a symbol tangled within the ashes
of a prophecy
until blaspheming the sores
in the angst of a nation.

Judge’s Note: This poem charges forth from its opening lines, engaging a complex message with a determined sensibility. The power of voice here is compelling as well. It is a reflection of mortality at a time when it bears worth reckoning with.

Poet’s Biography: German Rizo, poet and Mexican narrator. He has published: Songs of the soul and life (2014), Under the shadow of the heart (2016), Attract me with you (2017), participated in the anthology: Opposite equilibria, tribute to Federico García Lorca (2015). He has two other books of poetry entitled: The words burn and Footprints burn after the rain.

Third Place: INOCENCIA by Tamara Alarcon Basurto

Porque no ríes mi tierno niño.
Cuál es el motivo de tu amarga tristeza
Tus claros crisoles irritados de llanto
Conmueven mi alma reflejada tu pureza.

Porque no ríes mi tierno niño.
Y te encoges en tu sufrimiento.
De profundos y delicados suspiros
Que no tienen motivo de argumento.

Ya no llores mi tierno niño,
Ven y ríe conmigo tan solo por gusto
Porque eres joven para el dolor puro
Y transparente para el daño justo.
Naïve (Translation)

Why don’t you laugh, my tender child?
What is causing your bitter sadness?
The clear crystals of your eyes clouded by your weeping
touch my mirrored soul with their purity.

Why aren’t you laughing, my tender child?
And why are you shrinking from your suffering?
As your deep, delicate sobs
Seem to show me no reason to fight.

Don’t cry anymore, my tender child,
Come and laugh with me just for fun,
Because you are too young for pure pain
and too naive of deserved punishment.

Judge’s Note: This poem engages its theme in a subtly complex way. I’m moved by its take on and exploration of phrasing and emotional context.

Poet’s Biography: Tamara Alarcon Basurto was born and raised in Peru and has been alone in the United States for a year now. She was introduced to poetry by her godmother and finds it a therapeutic way to release emotions. She currently lives in Eugene, Oregon while attending PCC and the University of Oregon. Her interests include filmmaking and watercolor painting. Tamara’s future hopes include publishing a book of original poetry and using film to explore the power of imagery to convey emotions.

Judge’s Biography: José Angel Araguz is a CantoMundo fellow and the author of seven chapbooks as well as the collections Everything We Think We Hear, Small Fires, Until We Are Level Again, and, most recently, An Empty Pot’s Darkness. His poems, creative nonfiction, and reviews have appeared in Crab Creek Review, Prairie Schooner, New South, Poetry International, and The Bind. Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, he runs the poetry blog The Friday Influence and composes erasure poems on the Instagram account @poetryamano. A faculty member in Pine Manor College’s Solstice Low-Residency MFA program, he is also a member of the Board of Governors for CavanKerry Press. With an MFA from New York University and a PhD from the University of Cincinnati, José is an Assistant Professor of English at Suffolk University in Boston where he also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Salamander Magazine.

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