Ugly Duckling Presse

Sor Juana and Other Monsters
Sor Juana and Other Monsters

Luis Felipe Fabre

translated by John Pluecker

Poetry | $10 $7
Fall 2015
Buy"uncomfortable subjects, urgent protests and darkly comic desires"
In seventeenth century, colonial-era Mexico, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz’s visionary and passionate verse assured her a seminal place in the literary canon. Luis Felipe Fabre has reimagined this mysterious figure, so often appropriated and dissected by academics and literati. Fabre’s poems are built out of sixteenth century octosyllabic tetrameter and pulp novels, out of horror movie trailers and pompous academic papers, out of Medusas and dreams, Bat Sisters and rhymes. But more than that, they are made of language, a language brimming with irony, black humor and dread as he reflects on the many transformations of Sor Juana and of Mexico itself.Excerpt ˇ


Sor Juana scholars publish articles, essays, papers, rebuttal letters
in specialized magazines, on personal blogs, in the proceedings
from conferences that they themselves organize in order to differ with what other Sor Juana scholars say.

Sor Juana scholars are very busy people.
Sor Juana scholars are very strange people.
Sor Juana scholars tend to have their own separate cubicles.

But even among Sor Juana scholars,
whose essential task is to differ with other Sor Juana scholars,

there are some points of convergence:
almost none:

all Sor Juana scholars concur that Sor Juana was a monster.
Close ˆ

About the Author

Luis Felipe Fabre
Luis Felipe Fabre (1974) is a poet and critic based in Mexico City. He has published a volume of essays, Leyendo agujeros. Ensayos sobre (des)escritura, antiescritura y no escritura, and the poetry collections Cabaret Provenza, La sodomía en la Nueva España, and Poemas de terror y de misterio. He is the editor of two anthologies of contemporary Mexican poetry, Divino Tesoro and La Edad de Oro, and Arte & Basura, an anthology of Mario Santiago Papasquiaro's poetry work. He has been curator of the Poesía en Voz Alta Festival and Todos los originales serán destruídos, an exhibition of contemporary art made by poets.

About the Translator

John Pluecker
John Pluecker is a writer, interpreter, translator and co-founder of the language justice and literary experimentation collaborative Antena. His work is informed by experimental poetics, radical aesthetics and cross-border cultural production. His texts have appeared in journals in the U.S. and Mexico, including The Volta, Mandorla, Aufgabe, eleven eleven, Third Text, Animal Shelter, HTMLGiant and Fence. He has translated numerous books from the Spanish, including Tijuana Dreaming: Life and Art at the Global Border (Duke University Press) and Feminism: Transmissiones and Retransmissions (Palgrave Macmillan). His most recent chapbooks are Killing Current (Mouthfeel Press) and Ioyaiene (Handmade for Fresh Arts Houston-based Community Supported Art Program). His book of poetry and image, Ford Over, is forthcoming in 2016.

Advance Praise

Fabre uses brutal irony—an irony that operates through reiteration and self-criticism—to reflect on the transformation of Sor Juana into academic and literary merchandise. [Fabre medita con sorna brutal—una sorna que funciona por reiteración y es autocrítica—sobre la transformación de Sor Juana en mercancía académica y literaria.]—Álvaro Enrigue
Luis Felipe Fabre knows the power of fantastic literature, its ability to invoke ghosts of uncomfortable subjects, urgent protests and darkly comic desires. Do you like horror movies? Well, this book of poems should definitely be on your bookshelf. [Luis Felipe Fabre conoce el poder del arte fantástico, su licencia para invocar fantasmas de temas incómodos, denuncias apremiantes y cómicos oscuros deseos. ¿Les gusta el cine de terror? Bueno, este poemario debe estar en su librero ya.] —
... make[s] the case that literature is a conversation that never ends and that can be added to across languages, classes, genders, places and times. They remind us why the convention in writing about works of literature is to refer to those works in the present tense [...] because such writing unfolds in an eternal present, remaining relevant, ongoing, and interactive every time a reader chooses to read it.—Kathleen Rooney, Chicago Tribune
As a conduit for future translations of this caliber, Señal is a sign of hope for English readers, though Fabre’s poems likely approach the pinnacle of such an endeavor.—Matt Bucher, molossus