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Cardboard House Press is a 501c3 nonprofit organization devoted to the creation of spaces and media for cultural, artistic, and literary development. We publish writing, art, and contemporary thought from Latin America and Spain, and host bilingual events, community projects and workshops. Our work serves as a platform to exchange ideas and highlight meanings that stimulate diverse human connections and social actions. All of our publications are bilingual— English and Spanish. 


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︎Reviews

Gardens by Carlos Cociña reviewed by Diego Alegría in Latin American Literature Today:

"...masterfully translated by Ian Lockaby, the Chilean author avails himself of the fragmented connection of nine works of poetic prose, anchored at the syntactic level through parataxis to connect physical and psychological gardens, expansive and minuscule, visual and tonal."


The Dream of Every Cell by Maricela Guerrero reviewed by Alec Schumacher in Make Lit:

“The poems themselves seem to grow from previous ones, building a particular lexicon that becomes enriched with each poem. Aloe vera, wolves, birch and fir, anemone, subtraction, breath, nitrogen, empire: these words become more tangible as each poem gives shape to their meaning in Guerrero’s diction. The book reveals itself as organism, as a structure of interrelated cells that communicate and feed each other. And just as biological information is imprinted during the process of reproduction, the book is a space that receives poetic information.”

“Every translation effectively constitutes an interpretation, yet Myers translation flows openly like a parallel river to Guerrero’s Spanish, nimbly bending between registers following Guerrero’s odyssey through cells, roots, chemical processes, and human relationships.”


The Dream of Every Cell by Maricela Guerrero reviewed Bret Ameneyro in Los Angeles Review:

“If viewed as a collection of essays, the thesis can be found on the last line of the poem “Cells”: “I’d like to know if there will be room for all of us.” The speaker often jumps from nature imagery to images of buildings and human-made structures to show the constant battle for space on our planet. “The empire” is portrayed as an invasive species that fights against plants and animals.”


Contra Natura by Rodolfo Hinostroza reviewed by César Ferreira in Latin American Literature Today:


"The publication of this bilingual edition of Contra Natura (1971)...deserves the highest praise, as it brings the work of one of the most important Peruvian poets of the second half of the twentieth century to an English-speaking audience.”


Contra Natura is a disturbing book that is full of surprises. The work is a product of a unique grammar and a complex system of signs that creates its own semantic field.”


Contra Natura by Rodolfo Hinostroza reviewed by Greg Bem in North of Oxford:


“At long last, the Peruvian poet Rodolfo Hinostroza’s majestic Contra natura is available to the English-speaking audience. This work is a crucial component of late 20th-century poetry attuned to the modernist collecting, the surrealist melting, and the complex humor that follows the community footsteps of poets throughout South America.”


Boat People by Mayra Santos-Febres reviewed by Greg Bem in Exacting Clam:

“The fatalism is amplified by a swollen language of stories of unacknowledgment and brutal survival: “identity unquestioned / and one more to the sea / a watery wilderness” (35). The poet calls forth the fragmentation of our discourse, at large, around the subject of migration along the margins, of consideration of refugees.”



Boat People by Mayra Santos-Febres reviewed by Zack Anderson in Harvard Review:



Boat People by Mayra Santos-Febres reviewed by Honora Spicer in World Literature Today:


“Gnashing and disassembling flesh and language at once, “la fauce azul / alafau sea sul,” Pérez-Rosario’s translation sustains this simultaneity and breakdown: “like the yawl that tossed your excess weight / into the blue maw / intothe bluem aw.” This spacing, repetition, reordering of proximity gestures toward bodies opening out in multiple ways, becoming un-numberable, un-indexical, un-categorizable.”


“The Opacity of Language, the Empathy of Translation,” Aitor Bouso Gavín on Boat People in Hopscotch:




Boat People by Mayra Santos Febres reviewed by Zoe Contros Kearl in Kenyon Review. 


“Burning Like Roses: On Marosa Di Giorgio’s Carnation and Tenebrae Candle” by Zack Anderson in Action Books.


Clavel y Tenebrario / Carnation and Tenebrae Candle by Marosa Di Giorgio, Translated by Jeannine Marie Pitas” by Juan de Marsilio in Latin American Literature Today.  


Carnation and Tenebrae Candle by Marosa Di Giorgio reviewed by Honora Spicer in Asymptote


“The pastoral genre is always political insofar as it concerns the scope of the city as well as the ways that people tend to the edges of the polis. This act of tending is performed again and again in Carnation and Tenebrae Candle, and these habits of interaction between humans and the natural become ways of world-making, which is a prominent impulse of di Giorgio’s. In this collection, translation is another tending—the world-making of repeated care—and Pitas’s translation is best described by a line from the collection: “everything there, meticulous, tender and nearly trembling.”


Carnation and Tenebrae Candle by Marosa Di Giorgio reviewed by Greg Bem in North of Oxford:



Carnation and Tenebrae Candle by Marosa Di Giorgio reviewed by Rose Bialer in Kenyon Review.  


Pixel Flesh by Agustín Fernández reviewed by  Vincent Moreno in Angel City Review:


Pixel Flesh is a highly intertextual work that opens up all sorts of hallways and windows into other forms of art, into other texts and disciplines. The references are sometimes direct: Blade Runner, Wittgenstein, Warhol, and pop music, among others, appear in the book as a very eclectic and, in appearance, incongruous amalgam of quotes and allusions that are a trademark of Fernández Mallo’s style. Ultimately, however, it is the reader who holds the key to venture into new doors and corridors. This makes each new reading of the book a new experience, rendering it practically inexhaustible in connotations and suggestiveness.”


Pixel Flesh by Agustín Fernández Mallo reviewed by Greg Bem in Rain Taxi


Pixel Flesh by Agustín Fernández Mallo reviewed by Honora Spicer in World Literature Today:


“The translation becomes itself a rich commentary on the representation of fractal self-similarity. Ludington explores how to knowingly translate oddness in the original, exposing the valences of fractal deriving from the Latin for ‘broken’ or ‘fractured.’”


“Mallo’s interest in writing through cultural detritus informs this approach of using a set of trite tropes that generate a loop and ultimately demonstrate the deterioration of meaningful human connection in the face of technological static.”


Pixel Flesh by Agustín Fernández Mallo reviewed by AM Ringwalt in Kenyon Review


(ESSAY) “Love as a Question of Destination in Augustín Fernández Mallo’s Pixel Flesh” by Eleanor Tennyson in SPAM.




“Letters From Latin America: November 7, 2019.” Room in Rome by Jorge Eduardo Eielson reviewed by Leo Boix in Morning Star. 


“Eielson weaves personal history with geographic location, homosexual desire with longing, past and future, in a fashion that is as playful as it is profound.”


“Nota Benes, Autumn 2019,” World Literature Today.


Room in Rome by Jorge Eduardo Eielson reviewed by César Ferreira in Latin American Literature Today:


Room in Rome (1954), now appearing in a bilingual edition with David Shook’s magnificent translation in English, a prologue by Mario Vargas Llosa and an epilogue by Martha Canfield, is both a showcase of Eielson’s poetic excellence, and an individual and collective reflection on his exile in Europe.”  

“Slipknots: Jorge Eduardo Eielson’s ‘Room in Rome,’ Translated from Spanish by David Shook” by Olivia Lott in Reading in Translation:


“The question most pertinent for Eielson’s and Shook’s poems, however, is what vanishes for the exile? What knots fall apart when tensed? What attempts to tie something together, to re-articulate slip away, drop out of reach?”


“The Singing Knots of Jorge Eduardo Eielson: Room in Rome in Review” by Sergio Sarano in Asymptote
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Cartonera Collective Series (Maricela Guerrero’s Kilimanjaro, Juan José Rodinás’s Koan Underwater, Legna Rodríguez Iglesias’s Spinning Mill) reviewed by Clara Atfeld in Kenyon Review:


“Iglesias focuses on redirecting logic, taking the reader through a logical sequence with seemingly illogical steps...The poetry focuses on gender, love, and race, through the lenses of absurdity and honesty.”


Cardboard Conscious: Translation in Community” by Kelsi Vanada in Reading in Translation:





“The poems honor process—the process of textile work, the process of women defining themselves and seeking equality in a society dominated by the patriarchy (...) And the book shows off its process, too: in the waxed thread that holds the pages together, the decorative knots embroidered in deep pink thread on the cover, and in Seligmann’s translation process and choices placed right next to the original.”





“Kilmanjaro is nothing if not a long list-rant against capitalism and the forces that make people cogs in a machine—and if that sounds negative, good. It’s supposed to be uncomfortable”


“An Interview with Robin Myers, Translator of Lyric Poetry Is Dead by Ezequiel Zaidenwerg” by Heather Lang in The Literary Review.


“~Notes on a Journey to the Ever-Dying Lands~” Lyric Poetry Is Dead by Ezequiel Zaidenwerg reviewed by Arturo Desimone in ANMLY:


“Fortunately, Lyric Poetry is Dead quickly reveals itself as a protest—only half-cynical, elsewhere tender—against the hegemonic and academic forces of antipoetry, making it in places a genuinely antagonistic collection.”


Lyric Poetry Is Dead by Ezequiel Zaidenwerg reviewed by Madeline Vardell in The Arkansas International:  


“Lyric poetry becomes both the vehicle for Zaidenwerg to reimagine many histories and allude to other literary greats, and the poetic subject and star of her own legends. Just so, Lyric Poetry Is Dead is waiting to rise up like Lazarus and delight you over and over again.”


Lyric Poetry Is Dead by Ezequiel Zaidenwerg reviewed by Paul Guillén in Latin American Literature Today:


“Zaidenwerg uses tropes of traditional poetry and breaks them like someone who is rummaging, like an investigative poet.”  


Lyric Poetry Is Dead: The Flourishing Obituary of Ezequiel Zaidenwerg” by Bill Mohr in Koan Kinship.


“A Report from the Cartonera Collective” by Fields, Noa/h in ANMLY



“I allowed the surreal, associative drift of Rodinás’s poems to wash over me like a dream (...) Rodinás’s koans resurface from underwater logic, ripple with doublings and eery (eary?) recurrences in musical sequence. A hearty recommendation for Koan Underwater: yet another hit from Cardboard House Press.”


“Rebel Poetry: Rodrigo Lira’s Testimony of Circumstances in Review” by Garett Phelps in  Asymptote


“Needless to say, all of Lira’s neologisms, wordplay, intertextuality, and assonance-based rhythms would cost even the best translator a pint of blood. Ours, however, are the best of the best and have pulled off an English that’s as shining, breathless, and combustible as its source. It’s often just as inventive, too.”


Testimony of Circumstance by Rodrigo Lira reviewed in The Arkansas International:


“Lira may have written in the 70s, in response to the oppressive climate of his own government, but hold his poetry up and it is an unnerving lens for the present day, America and elsewhere. We should all take up the pen, like Lira, write against the suffocation of the factory, but first, turn to Testimony of Circumstances, enter into conversations with Lira and beat back our solitary sub-lives, choose to hear, more than survive.”


Testimony of Circumstances by Rodrigo Lira reviewed by John Venegas in Angel City Review


“What Testimony of Circumstances represents then is a kind of pseudo-biography, a fascinating, disarming, and brilliant cross section of a life dedicated to literature. Everything is on display here – Lira’s politics, his contentious rivalries with those he wanted to regard as friends and/or peers, his utterly merciless inner voice – all of it. There is a richness of perspective present that caught me rather off guard.”


Testimony of Circumstances by Rodrigo Lira reviewed by Jasmine V. Bailey in Waxwing Literary Journal: American Writers & International Voices.



Album of Fences by Omar Pimienta reviewed by Kelsi Vanada in Kenyon Review

“That’s the strength of this hybrid photo-poem collection—it humanizes a complex place that is a hot-button issue for many. For Pimienta, it’s home.”



Mark

Commonplace

Hugo García Manríquez


Translated from the Spanish by NAFTA
Cover art by Omar García
Designed by Mutandis  

Poetry
Bilingual edition
Paperback

ISBN 978-1-945720-29-1
October 18, 2022



$19


For international deliveries, we will send you a request for payment of additional shipping costs.






Commonplace examines the layers of colonial and geopolitical violence that underlie both contemporary landscapes of Mexico City and the nation’s literary institutions. Literally, the Palacio de Bellas Artes is constructed over chinampas, floating platforms used by the Mexica in agricultural cultivation. In Commonplace, García Manríquez delves into the mutually-constitutive relationship between national culture and the culture of nationalism, asking if other forms of poetic and artistic production are possible given the conditions of ambient violence under which that production must inevitably occur. García Manríquez further links the Mexican state―and the cultural apparatus it supports―to ongoing ecological catastrophe, suggesting that more explicit forms of political force find their basis in the slower violence of environmental exploitation and the systematic erasure of indigenous knowledge across the Global South.




 PRAISE 


Commonplace is a literary topos of the natural world, a compilation of the environmental crisis made with an eye so wide that it includes the Popul Vuh, the Palacio de Bellas Artes, and the budget of SEDENA. This makes it a nature poem that is in no way nostalgic, a political poem that is in no way nationalist, and one of the most moving poems I’ve read in a long time.

―Juliana Spahr



Hugo García Manríquez’s Commonplace brims with lists―of statistics and flowers, of weapons and endangered species. Think Whitman, if Whitman were not concerned with raising up a new nation but with documenting the failure of the nation state and interrogating the role of the poem as witness. Commonplace is a catalog that collapses into a poetics, as well as a catalog of collapse. In stark and brilliant verse, García Manríquez reminds us that “discussions about poetry / …are in the end discussions / about politics.” Commonplace is a poem and a lesson, an indictment and an incitement to action!

―Susan Briante



These poems both catalog and interrupt contact between the military and the ecological in everyday contexts: how traces left by the glands of a white-tailed deer and petals from bright yellow creosote also touch Colts and Glocks and ion scanners. In doing so, they ask me to confront whether there remains anything private in my so-called private life. As García Manríquez writes, “When we read literature / we read the budget of the Mexican army.” And in that budget, we may spy the poetics of our own elegies. This compact, but frightening, book invites us to consider “The collapse of abstraction / as another form of freedom.”

―Divya Victor



Hugo García Manríquez has crafted here an unsettling anti-art puzzle for the present; a chamber piece sounding life now on the perpetual brink. Commonplace performs, in terse serial transmutations, at once a forensic architecture and a revolt against the narrowing gulf that keeps separate forms of life and a host of unnerving encroachments or enclosures. Lyric and documentary techniques restrain “first something / about our private life” within a nation’s war machines and culture palaces; then, within the overwhelming menaces to species and planet. In our commonplace of aspect and moment, to intonate is to detonate―nowhere to hide from the devastations of modernism; no cold comfort from the “collapse of abstraction / as another form of freedom.” Epitomized in the discerning English-language face-en-face by Gerónimo Sarmiento Cruz, Whitney DeVos, and Zane Koss―a.k.a. the North American Free Translation Agreement collective―are responses to what Commonplace poses: Can a disintegrating world enter language only as a means to an exit? Is it possible to strive together in situations already so torn asunder?

―Roberto Tejada





 ABOUT THE AUTOR 

Born in Mexico in 1978, Hugo García Manríquez is a poet and translator. His most recent full-length collections are Anti-Humboldt: A Reading of the North American Free Trade Agreement (2015), and Lo común (2018). He has translated William Carlos Williams’ Paterson (2009); George Oppen’s Of Being Numerous (2019); a collection of essays and poems by Sean Bonney, El lenguaje de las barricadas (2021); After Lorca y otros poemas, an anthology of Jack Spicer’s work (2022), among others. He lives in Oakland, California.




 ABOUT THE TRANSLATORS 

The North American Free Translation Agreement/No America Fraught Translation Argument (NAFTA), ratified in 2019, currently consists of three poets writing from the occupied territories of Canada, Mexico, and the United States: Whitney Celeste DeVos, Zane Koss, and Gerónimo Sarmiento Cruz. Their translations of Jesús Arellano Meléndrez have appeared in Denver Quarterly, and additional translations of Karen Villeda have appeared in Folder. Selections of this manuscript can be found in tripwire: a journal of poetics.




 ABOUT THE COVER ARTIST 


Omar García (Oaxaca, México, 1991) is a graduate of the Faculty of Arts and Design at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). In both 2017 and 2022 he was the recipient of the FONCA grant for young creators. His work has been selected in national and international competitions including the Triennale Grenchen (Switzerland, 2021), the “Shinzaburo Takeda” Biennial (2019), the XII International Graphic Competition for Ex Libris (Poland, 2018) and the III Bienal Internacional de Grabado “Jose Guadalupe Posada” (2017). He has participated in numerous group exhibitions and has two individual exhibitions, “Bocetos para un funeral de Estado” (2017) and “Notas para informe” (2016). His work consists of planning projects that are fictitious, impossible, or that will never be realized, with the aim of sabotaging, through the absurd, Art itself.