She has been rated as one of the foremost figures in mid-twentieth century Colombian literature. Ten years after her death, homage is still being paid to her memory.
“María Mercedes Carranza: Collected poetry &
19 poems in her memory”
includes contributions from a number of poets paying special homage to her.
“Translating El canto de las moscas demanded more than finding the precise terms or expressions. The experience turned into an emotional journey through the painful Colombian reality. Confronting the magnitude of the tragedy described with these moving words is a transforming event, making indifference and oblivion impossible.” ~Margarita Millar
Carranza, a tireless peace activist, believed in the power of poems to heal and change a country which has suffered unspeakable levels of cruelty. In 2001 she wrote:
“…I want to talk about the power of the word against chaos and horror; there is a need to replace bullets for words … I want to talk about poetry–well–as a weapon to affirm and impose life and love: against death, there is life.”
Bilingual book highlights work of Colombian poet (excerpt)
In a small book of poems, Maria Mercedes Carranza proposes a sad route through 24 cities that have suffered extreme violence in her martyred country: Colombia. We traverse the cities through short, concise poems, written as a tribute to the inhabitants who experienced the violence — between the army, the insurgent groups, the paramilitary and the drug cartels — and which kept Colombia in a downward spiral for nearly half a century.
The force of the poems rings like bells sounded from the center of the destruction, converting into the echo of an unbearable tranquility.
Written in a form similar to the Japanese haiku, but without respect for their structure as far as the space and number of syllables, the poems resonate in the silence like permanent reclamations against the injustice of the indiscriminate violence. The first poem, “Necoclí,” is a full declaration of those intentions when it suggests:
this next instant
late at night or in the morning
only the song of the flies
will be heard.
|el próximo instante||the next instant|
|de noche tarde o mañana||of night afternoon or morning|
|en Necoclí||in Necoclí|
|se oirá nada más||nothing will be heard|
|el canto de las moscas||but the song of the flies.|
/source of poem & translation/
María Mercedes Carranza
(b. 1945, Bogotá)
Carlos Jáuregui, bio 2000 [pdf]
Poetry International bio & poems
Vainas y otros poemas (A pain in the ass and other poems, 1972)
Tengo miedo (I am afraid, 1982)
Carranza por Carranza (An anthology of her father’s poems, 1985)
Hola, soledad (Hello, loneliness, 1987)
Maneras del desamor (Ways of love lost, 1993)
El canto de las moscas ( The song of the flies, 1998)
Websites on Carranza
The House of Poetry Silva
Essay by Juan Liscano