Poetry News

Joyelle McSweeney Reviews Antígona González by Sara Uribe

By Harriet Staff
Sara Uribe, Antigona Gonzalez, cover

At The Bind, a "review site devoted to books of poetry by women and nonbinary authors," Joyelle McSweeney reviews Antígona González by Sara Uribe, translated by John Pluecker (Les Figues Press, 2016). It's a creative review, written in refrains, backs-and-forths, that circle the title: ANTIGONE, ANTÍGONA GONZÁLEZ, ANTÍGONA GONZÁLEZ by SARA URIBE, and finally ANTÍGONA GONZÁLEZ by SARA URIBE, translated by John Pluecker. Of Uribe, McSweeney writes:

Antígona González is a book of refractions, appropriations, conjurations, fragmentations, of ghost cerements stitched and re-stitched, until there is no telling where one voice begins and another ends: Who is Antígona González and what are we going to do with all the other Antigones? Who says this? Uribe is the latest artist to find herself and her heroine moving along the long, dismal path of this we, abjected from the light of power’s bona fides and onto a sacred, spectral plane of grief, abnegation and reluctant counterpower: I didn’t want to be an Antigone // but it happened to me. The book splices Latin American and European versions of Antigone, human rights reports and scholarly texts, along with the account of our present heroine; its voice thus amplifies even as it grows more specific. Devastatingly, Antígona finally communes not with Tadeo but with the other bereft searchers who have massed in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, in the dubious hopes of recognizing a loved one among a group of corpses. The repeated choral declaration Somos muchos in the book’s final passages evokes dismay as well as power. It is a wail as much as a roar. Reflecting this ambivalence, the choral voice undulatingly splits and reforms; on its final page, the voice of Sophocles’s Antigone issues from the chorus’s now singular throat: ¿Me ayudarás a levantar el cadáver? Will you join me in taking up the body? As the first Antigone hurls out this challenge to her sister Ismene, Uribe here throws her moral challenge to her reader(s). The white space around this question terrifyingly undecided; is it heavy with silence, or loud with groans as a long, dismal column of sisters bends to the work?

Hey, find the full review at The Bind.


Originally Published: September 18th, 2017