Translator's notes

Giraffe in Juárez

By Martín Camps

Martín Camps was born in Tijuana, Mexico, yet spent his adolescence at a seminary in the nation’s capital. A spiritual crisis triggered his departure from religious studies and a future as a Catholic priest. Upon returning to the Mexican border region of Ciudad Juárez, he dedicated himself seriously to poetry. Like many Mexican poets from that desert with a militarized border, yet where English and Spanish mix, Camps discovered contemporary North American poetry. Conversational and street-wise in comparison to the exquisite formality of much canonical Mexican poetry, Camps discovered an idiom that reflected his city of scalding heat, violence caused by the drug-war, maquilas benefitting foreign corporations, junkyards, and migration. Because of this, one can place him within the generation of poets from the border region, born in the 1970s – especially Tijuana, Mexicali, and Ciudad Juárez – and who sought to address those issues through rhetoric commensurate with the Beats and Charles Bukowski. After completing a Master’s degree in El Paso, Texas, Martín Camps pursued a PhD in Latin American literature at the University of California in Riverside. He has opted to remain a professor in the United States, although he writes in Spanish and publishes widely in the Spanish-speaking world. Like many Latin Americans who live in forced or voluntary exile, he exists with his feet planted on both sides of the cultural, aesthetic, and linguistic demarcations between the Anglo and Latin Americas. I have been working closely with Camps on the translations of his poetry; it has been my intent to render his poetry within a colloquial American idiom, line-breaks reminiscent of contemporary North American poetry, and with a rhythm that English-language readers will recognize.

Contributor and student discounts

If you are a student, or if you contribute to MPT you are eligible for a great discount deal when you subscribe…» Subscribe now

Back to top
Supported by Arts Council England

Copyright © Modern Poetry in Translation and contributors
Website design ashbydesign
Developed by Code Frontiers
Powered by Storemill