softcover, literature, $15
Cover Art: Inda Sáenz, “Zócalo de Oaxaca,” 2015. Óleo sobre tela, 50 x 39.5 cm.
This expanded edition of Rubén Medina’s 2010 Nomadic Nation / Nación Nómada includes a new introduction by the author about his poetics as well as new translations of work originally written in Spanish. Composed in English, Spanish and Spanglish, these important poems reflect on the lives of immigrants/ emigrants, our restless spirits, and the human journey: “We are at the periphery of the center / and at the center of the periphery / at the same time.”
Writes Medina in “Una poetica norteada”: “There is no purity in language. There never has been. … Interference can at times simply end up increasing the vocabulary of a dominant language, or provoke changes in structure and meaning, but quite often it also reveals a double voice or double consciousness. Spanglish marks the on-going tensions between assimilation and difference for the migrant subjects. It points also to the cycle of nation formation once again or to nation de-formation. … I called my poetics, una poética norteada, alien, nomadic. This term, norteada/o, describes a person who is lost while pursuing a destination. To be lost is of great artistic, political and existential value, since that lost person seeks a way out knowing in the process that getting on the right road is not necessarily a destination.”
“Nomadic Nation makes a place out of in-betweeness. It is a celebration of Spanglish not only as a lived language but as a lived reality that carries meaning in a singular (yet multiple) fashion. These poems move in many directions at different speeds, continually shifting in tone and points of reference, dialoguing along the way with several literary traditions in English and Spanish. At once cerebral and matter-of-fact, this book is essential reading for those interested in poetry, in language or in the joys and challenges of the migrant experience.”
—John Burns, author of Contemporary Hispanic Poetry: Cultural Production in the Global, Digital Age
Rubén Medina was born in Mexico City in 1955. Professor Medina is a poet, translator and scholar. He specializes in Mexican and Chicano/a literature and culture, intellectual history, film studies, and Mexican migration to the United States and co-founded Infrarrealism. He has lived in the US since 1978. Nomadic Nation / Nación nómada is his third book of poetry. He has also published Báilame este viento, Mariana (1980), Amor de lejos… Fools’ Love (1986), the first edition of Nomadic Nation / Nación nómada (2010), and poems in numerous anthologies in the US, Mexico, Latin America and Spain. In the area of research his works include Autor, autoridad y autorización: escritura y poética de Octavio Paz (1999) and Genealogías del presente y del pasado: Literatura y cine meXicanos (2010). In collaboration with John Burns, he translated a major anthology of beat poetry: Una pandilla de salvajes improvisando a las puertas del infierno (2012). Recently he edited Perros habitados por las voces del desierto, Poesía infrarrealista entre dos siglos (2014). Since 1991 he has taught at UW–Madison and been involved with UW-Madison study abroad programs in Latin America and Spain. He is the faculty director for the International Learning Community and the Global Cultures Certificate Program.