Home > Poetry > A Book
Translated from the Spanish by Michael Bazzett
Published: Mon Apr 15 2024
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
A Book

How I yearn for the day
when everyone in this country
walks around armed
with a book.

Humberto Ak’abal (1952–2019) was a K’iche’ Maya poet from Guatemala. His collection Guardián de la caída de agua (Guardian of the Waterfall) was named book of the year by Association of Guatemalan Journalists and received their Golden Quetzal award in 1993. In 2004, he declined to receive the Guatemala National Prize in Literature because it is named for Miguel Ángel Asturias, whom Ak’abal accused of encouraging racism. Ak’abal, recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, died on January 28, 2019. A bilingual selected edition of his work, If Today Were Tomorrow (translated by Michael Bazzett), is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in June. (updated 4/2024)

Michael Bazzett is the author of five poetry collections, most recently The Echo Chamber (Milkweed Editions, 2021). The recipient of awards from The Frost Place and the National Endowment for the Arts, he has placed poems in The American Poetry Review, The Threepenny Review, AGNIThe Nation, Granta, and elsewhere. His verse translation of the Mayan creation epic, The Popol Vuh (Milkweed, 2018), was longlisted for the National Translation Award in Poetry and named one of 2018’s best books of poetry by The New York Times. (updated 4/2024)
Back to top