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It Must Be a Misunderstanding by Coral Bracho trans. By Forrest Gander

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Mexican poet, teacher and translator Coral Bracho was born in Mexico City in 1951. She has published several books, two in English thanks to the brilliant poet-translator Forrest Gander, who has put this composite volume together, the first time Bracho has been extensively published in the UK.

In Mexico she is a formidable presence and influence, one of the most significant writers since Octavio Paz. Her wide-lined, semantically rich poems may remind us of Jorie Graham’s experimental manner. ‘Her diction spills out along ceaselessly shifting beds of sound,’ says her translator. Her early poems ‘make sense first as music, and music propels them’.

It Must Be a Misunderstanding is her most personal collection of poems, treating her mother’s Alzheimer’s and death. She finds tenderness, humour, grace, and even a kind of bravery in the interactions of people who encounter each other in a ‘Memory Care’ facility. In the parallel worlds of residents, a wall might be seen as a man’s starched suit, shadows are real, quiet is strafed with stutters of speech. Things exist and don’t exist at one and the same time. ‘As they do,’ we are tempted to say in response to the lavish tenderness and empathy of the poems. Bracho gradually reveals her mother's inimitably strong, quirky nature.



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