The Zen of La Llorona

Front Cover
Salt, Jan 1, 2005 - Poetry - 106 pages
5 Reviews
The Zen of La Llorona is a second collection of poetry by a Native American woman, and as such, it goes beyond initial concerns with personal racial identity. While still very much speaking from an indigenous point of view, The Zen of La Llorona complicates that indigenous identity with visceral explorations of gendered violence, sexual orientation and mothering in an unpredictable, chaotic world. Key to these poems are historical and current events: traumas as distant as the colonization of California’s indigenous peoples and as close as the destructive forces of 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. How do we survive destruction without becoming destroyers ourselves? How can the elements of earth, love, community and work nurture creation, and manifest hope? Utilizing the figure of “La Llorona,” a mythical indigenous figure of the Americas who first murders and then mourns her children, the poems in this book seek to unravel the mysterious fascination we have with despair, and move us along with the poet to a more clarifying, centering focus on joy. Zen, the author notes, tells us “everyone loses everything,” leaving us with only a decision about our attitude toward loss itself. La Llorona, on the other hand, says, “Nonsense – there’s always something left to lose.” What that “something” is, and how we can preserve and honor it, is at the heart of this collection of poems.

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Review: The Zen of La Llorona

User Review  - Rebecca - Goodreads

Rereading this powerful collection again this week. It's one of my all-time favorites. The introduction is an important reflection on the effects of colonization and patriarchy on creativity. The ... Read full review

Review: The Zen of La Llorona

User Review  - ZoŽ - Goodreads

"The Mexican folktale of La Llorona, sometimes known as the 'weeping woman' tells a story of infanticide as a lineage of violence is passed down from the conquering Spanish conquistador to the ... Read full review

About the author (2005)

Deborah A. Miranda is of Esselen, Chumash, French and Jewish ancestry. She is enrolled with the Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen Nation of California. Her collection Indian Cartography won the Diane Decorah First Book Award. Her poetry is widely published in such anthologies as The Dirt is Red Here: Art and Poetry from Native California (HeyDay Books, 2002) and The Eye of the Deer: An Anthology of Native American Women Writers (Aunt Lute, 1999). Currently, Deborah is Assistant Professor of English at Washington and Lee University, where she teaches Creative Writing, Composition, and Native American Literatures.

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