Sandra Guzmán has compiled a monumental collection of writing by women, whom she designates as Latine, the gender-inclusive form of “Latino” and “Latina.” She states, "This is a journey into a luminous universe of texts that navigate across time and space, genres, styles, languages, and traditions. The Daughters gathered in this groundbreaking international anthology span five centuries of the written word, containing the wisdom, memory, and DNA of oral traditions more ancient than time itself.” Included are “140 Daughters of Latin America, recent and past, from 50 nations. The youngest living writer is twenty-seven years old, the oldest ninety-two. The oldest text was written in 1691. They live in hundreds of cities around the world and write in twenty-two languages–including eighteen native mother tongues of the Americas.” As Sandra Guzmán reminds us, along with cultural and linguistic specialists, many of these “other languages” are disappearing because of linguicide: a lack of usage or political repression. The art of translation is especially important. There are many forms of writing: poems, letters, chants, prayers, speeches, songs, short stories, fragments of novels-in-progress, journal entries, plays, personal and lyrical essays, and opinions. The book’s format is divided into thirteen sections: “Thirteen Holy Moons.” Sandra Guzmán explains the sacred and documented significance of the number thirteen, as well as that of the moon.
Many times (way too many times) some of these women have written in defiance of authorities (political and/or familial). Even celebratory writing has frequently been regarded as not work for a woman. Political, social, economic writing that challenges establishments has been met with disregard, anger or punishment. Yet, women have continued to express themselves which confirms the power of words, and the women who use them.
This is a collection that will fascinate and stun readers with its extensive coverage of writers and their thoughts and feelings. “The anthology is meant to be read from front to back, back to front, or opened at any page,” all of which this reader is currently doing. There are so many artists that most of us have never heard of. They bring fresh perspectives and insights about current and past events, and the people who are affected. All of these works originate from a Latine experience, which is complex and abundant, but the concepts are far-reaching in their truth and beauty.