‘The urgency of these poems would not let me sleep until I wrote and gathered them and they found a home in this pamphlet.’
Marina Sánchez is a Latinx mix of Indigenous Mexican/Spanish/ British living in London. She is an award-winning poet and translator, widely published in literary journals. Her poems have been placed in many national and international competitions and then anthologised. Her debut pamphlet Dragon Child (Acumen, 2014), was Book of the Month on The Poetry Kit website and was featured in the British Library’s The Hidden Surprises of Poetry Pamphlets Event (2019). Some of her poems are included in Un Nuevo Sol (Flipped Eye, 2019), the first UK Latinx anthology.
In her new pamphlet, Mexica Mix, Marina Sánchez, one of the most distinctive poets from the UKs Latinx community, explores her experiences of living in Mexico, Spain and the UK.
Through the arc of Family, Icons and Earth, she writes a profound, rich and well-crafted sequence of poems grappling with displacement, bilingual identity and mixed heritage, challenging cultural icons and affirming her relationship with the planet, rooted in her Indigenous Mexican ancestry. By turns lyrical, urgent, sensual and subversive, her powerful use of vivid imagery and language both voice the personal and engage the collective.
Place your hand on this book and you will feel the heartbeat of the poems inside.
Marina Sánchez’s poetry is charged with fervour and passion, and deep connection with her Indigenous Mexican and Spanish roots – Nahuatl (Aztec) and Spanish tongues entwine to tell their stories, reclaim lost knowledge and celebrate their existence.
Clouds of Doubt
Mother’s mouth was a story-telling flower,
painted in her favourite bougainvillea
lipstick, conjuring clouds of doubt
about where she was born.
Sometimes she’d say it was Cuernavaca,
‘the city of eternal spring’,
on the slopes of her beloved volcanoes
and the Chichinatzin mountains,
where dad would stop to buy her orchids.
Other times, she’d say we came from Mixtecs.
But she looked down on ‘indios’ and ‘prietos’,
only pointing out her skin colour
to boast how she turned chocolate in the sun.
While she resented my questions,
what else could I do? As a child,
I felt the weight she carried,
how she seemed trapped in her game
of concealing and revealing,
then sighs, quick laughter, silence.
My ancestors lie like budbursts in these tales.
Indios: native Indians from one of the many indigenous tribes in Mexico – Prietos: slang for someone who has dark skin
Published by Acumen in 2014, Marina’s first pamphlet was a series of poems both personal and universal. Personal as they stemmed from her experience of learning her daughter had CHARGE syndrome and universal as they touched on the hopes and fears of all mothers for their children.