Featured poet: Isabel Rivero

Isabel Rivero was born in Linares, Chile. She came to Santiago to study Philosophy at the Pedagogical Institute. In the ’80s she was expelled from the university; she returned in 1991 after a decree was passed ordering the reincorporation of students punished by the dictatorship.

In 2011 she attended a workshop at  Diego Portales University with Raúl Zurita, and in 2012 participated in the Laboratorio de Escritura (LEA) at the University of Chile.

The following poems come from her book DesTROZOS:

I mocked my hunger
I laughed at my sordidness
I hated my pain for being pain
I gathered saliva to spit at love
I gathered forces to kill it
in the fury of pain now I spin
rolling about at world’s end
until I find a space for two
in the hollow of the earth


Like a child
I sit on my knees
I clean the pain from this pain
with the edge of my dress


Around cliffs I made my way
through weeds
no grass was growing
I hold truths in my mouth


I had nothing
but your thirst in my mouth
nothing but the death of the sea
oceans poured out at my feet
until they had gathered all the salt
in the universe


Without water only thistles grow
and I pulled them up
and I pulled them up
waiting for poppies

— translated by Jessica Sequeira