Araceli Cab Cumí, Maya Poet and Politician
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: University of New Mexico Press
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Original Writings of Araceli Cab Cum
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Introduction: A Maya Poet and Politician, Araceli Cab Cum
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Leaning against the wall of her grandparents’ abandoned home, Araceli gazes past me, and my camera, perhaps to a middle distance of memory. Fleetingly a quieter Araceli replaces the talkative, outgoing politician. As she looks beyond me, I wonder why she has such a thoughtful, somber expression? The moment passes and I never know. Yet at seventy-five Araceli ...
1: Writing the Contours of a Life
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In the opening poem of this chapter Araceli Cab Cum
2: The Poetry of Place and Community
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In the opening poem to this chapter Araceli exalts her home, street, and barrio then circles outward to include the countryside around Maxcan
3: On Behalf of Women
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Araceli opens this chapter with two interconnected poems that she wrote to honor women on March 8, the International Day of Women. Her commemorative poems center upon a universal expression of women’s aspirations and hopes. While not universally acknowledged, the International Day of Women is honored in Mexico and Araceli always celebrates the day. ...
4: An Agenda for the Maya
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Araceli composed the preceding poem especially to open this chapter about her political work with and on behalf of her fellow Yucatec Maya. In it she links her identity as a Maya to the natural world, particularly to the basic foodstuff crops, corn and beans, of the Maya campesinos for many millennia. Corn is especially important since its cycle of clearing fields, planting, caretaking of the growing crop, and ultimately ...
5: Poetry: "Because I Have a Heart”
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Beginning in May 1976 and continuing off and on until June 1999, Araceli wrote a series of thirteen love poems interconnected by themes of intimacy, longing, and solitude. As she explains in the opening poem, which she composed especially for this chapter, she wrote these poems “because I have a heart” (porque tengo un corazón). The opening and closing poems of this twenty-three-year series have ...
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At seventy-five Araceli may appear to have closed down her political career and be settling into retirement. In June 2002 Araceli’s husband, Pablo, died after a long, debilitating illness that, although undiagnosed, resembled the slow fading of the mind characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. For the two years preceding his death Pablo was too ill to continue to farm his milpa. His dry goods stall in the Maxcanú market had closed ...
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Araceli’s poem, “I Begin These Essays Today,” opens this book with its telling question, “Could we consider ourselves as important participants in such a world, born as we were poor in Maxcanú?” Her life, lived as triumph, has given the answer to this question. Her intellect, resilient spirit, and stalwart personality were her pathways out of poverty and despair into a ...
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Page Count: 332
Illustrations: 27 halftones
Publication Year: 2007