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de Jesus 7 Teresa de Jesus CookBook Translated by John Carey Introduction by John Carey00 Onions00 Pantrucas00 Roasted Flour00 Rice and Milk00 Seaweeds00 Fish00 Bread Soup00 Notes00 Introduction I wanted to be a pilot a nun, a saint, an explorer, and ended up a teacher. Teresa de Jesus It's happy for us that Teresa de Jesus 'ended up a teacher,' and a writer as well. For there is much to learn from her. I had the good fortune to meet this remarkable woman during her recent visit to the U.S.A. She and her poetry traveled a long way: from Santiago, Chile, where Teresa lives and works, and where she wrote the 7 poems of Cook Book. A few years ago a friend introduced me to De Repente/All of a Sudden , the first collection of poems by Teresa de Jesus. It relates, with undiluted passion, the day to day struggle against the fascist dictatorship in Chile. But these are not poems of protest only. The poet does not lament . She sets herself a positive task, one more subversive than a cry for justice: 8 the minnesota review I am a woman who has a hard poetry and that poetry daily: constant, disciplined poetry from the barrels of my pencils, will come out every day. Every hour, it will come out, every minute like fierce little darts sinking into your rotten system Pinochet system your leprous system your murky system of spies. from ? Am a Small Woman' De Repente/All of a Sudden When the opportunity to meet Teresa came about, I feared that our meeting would be awkward. Coming from such different places and experiences , would we find things to share and talk about? My fear was quickly dispelled. Her description of Chile as being "so far from here, it's almost off the earth," was exaggeration, purely for the fun of it. For she is no stranger: her openness to new people and places, her undiminished curiosity, enable her to be at home anywhere. Of this country she said: "The people are really friendly. When I'm out walking, everyone says hello to me." Talking with her, I saw everyday things in a new way: "Squirrels ," she said, "are a revelation. I'd seen them before, but only in zoos, locked up like precious gems. Here they're everywhere!" What do we hear from Chile? What's happening where Teresa lives? Reports from the political opposition inform us that the repression grows worse. Torture and murder, trademarks of the U.S.—installed and— supported Pinochet regime, have been escalating. Since 1973, when the popular Allende government was overthrown by the military, under direction from the CIA, thousands upon thousands among the political opposition have been murdered. Thousands more have been disappeared, imprisoned to undergo torture, while the rest are forced to live in hiding. Such is the state, of what bi-partisan hacks of the U.S. government and de Jesus 9 press call the 'freeworld.' From within this world comes the politically engaged poetry of Teresa de Jesus: I didn't choose my neighborhood: gerrymandering the legislature my neighborhood chose me. The legislature is worth somewhere between a castle and a chili pepper: how much cash have you got? I am a protester for all the prostitutes who did not choose to be whores. I protest because there are promises while the poor haven't even a poorly provisioned table. from "The Protester" De Repente/All of a Sudden Yet in spite of state terrorism on a massive scale, with its accompanying institutionalized deprivation—the culture of the working class lives on. With Cook Book, her second collection of poems to appear in the U.S.A., Teresa de Jesus affirms this. No ordinary cook book, this one brings to life the basic meals of the poor. Each particular dish or type of food is presented from its position at the center of human life, in relation to those who produce or make it available, enjoy it, and struggle for it. Onions and parsley dance, rice and milk get married, a child asks the sea, 'the old, green bull,' for a golden fish. Here the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-4189
Print ISSN
0026-5667
Pages
p. 7
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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