AND SUDDENLY I WAS JUST DANCING
Translated from the Spanish by Honora Spicer
Designed by Mutandis
Covers letterpress printed with Shut Eye Press
Part of the Cartonera Collective Series, these books include a letterpress cover and are made by hand in community workshops, using sewn binding with recycled cardboard.
February 15, 2023
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And Suddenly I Was Just Dancing collects poetry by Tilsa Otta (Lima, 1982) in a chapbook of gender-defiant, carnal movement. The rhythm of perreo carries us into an anticolonial space of sensual and sexual liberation which pushes against binaries and towards multiplicity. Curating a collective of spiritual proportions, Otta’s 'New Heaven' is boisterous and honest, zany and earnest, queer and color filled.
is one of my favorite poets, and Honora Spicer’s translations capture what is luminous
about Otta’s work. This collection is nocturnal punk graffiti. She manages to
make a voice
that’s a little IDGAF, a little mystical into a hypnotic pulse radiating out
like a bat signal
shape of her girlfriend’s puppy. And Suddenly I Was Just Dancing is the
balm for your mercury in
retrograde. Bring your satellite.
―Carmen Giménez Smith
which is to say, the “x” that in Spanish marks out the gender binary can wheel,
in Honora Spicer’s translations as much as in Tilsa Otta’s poems, into the “+”
of possibility, the unapologetic celebration of appetite, savoring the spit we
share in articulating the more that is already here. These are poems that call
us into the “wild lyceum” where our gorgeous animality tunes its collective
attention to the elegance of its own music. Otta and Spicer lead us in a “dance
/ supposedly obscene / that assures / Humanity’s continuance,” which is to say
has quickly, and with good reason, become recognized as one of the leading
voices of new Latin American writing. From novels to poems, her work is always
charged with a tender, cosmic, and electrically personal take on life. I would
say that Tilsa is a shooting star, for the energy of her ascent in Peru,
Argentina, Mexico, Bolivia, and Spain, but there’s nothing fleeting about the
light she emits. Tilsa’s star is here to stay, shining at last over the
English-speaking world in Honora Spicer’s translation. So, look up, take it in,
and don't forget to make a wish: her poems have been known to make even the
wildest ones come true.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tilsa Otta Vildoso (Lima, 1982) is an audiovisual artist and writer. She has published four books of poetry, a book of short stories, a children’s poetry book, and a comic. Her most recent publication is the novel “Lxs niñxs de oro de la alquimia sexual” (Penguin Random House). She creates experimental and fictional films and leads poetry workshops for adults and children. For more information and ‘magia blanca’: www.tilsaotta.com
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Honora Spicer (Cambridge, MA, 1992) is a writer and experiential educator. Her documentary poetry and literary translations from Spanish have appeared in The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-day, Tripwire, Asymptote, Latin American Literature Today, World Literature Today, Action Books, and elsewhere. www.honoraspicer.com