Miguel Rivera with Claudia Castro Luna

The publication of the poems in the late Guatemalan poet Humberto Ak’abal’s book of poems, published here as In the Courtyard of the Moon (Tia Chucha Press), has been more of a journey than most books. Written by Humberto Ak’abal (1952 - 2019) in K’iché, the poet himself translated the poems into Spanish. We welcome Miguel Rivera, himself originally from Guatemala, an accomplished professional drummer and musician, and teacher, who translated the poems from Spanish, working with Fran Quinn and earlier, Robert Bly, to bring them into English, for this striking book. Humberto Ak’abal was author of several collections, his awards and honors including the Blaise Cendrars International Poetry Award, the Canto de América Prize in Indigenous Literatures, the Pier Paolo Pasolini International Poetry Award and a Chevalier l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

“Writers like Ak’abal . . . require us to penetrate into that other reality that we do not know, understand that this culture, that this indigenous soul lives and breathes in our own reality at the same time as our time, with the same life as our life, loving and understanding the same continent that we love but do not understand.” —Carlos Montemayor.

Making this special evening even more special will be having treasured Seattle poet Claudia Castro Luna as part of the proceedings. Originally from El Salvador, the Americas are very much part of her poetic focus, as evidenced by her collection Killing Marías, and a book of new poems coming from Tia Chucha Press next year. She was Seattle’s first Civic Poet, is the most recent past Washington State Poet Laureate, is also the author of One River, A Thousand Voices, and has an essay not to be missed in There’s A Revolution Outside, My Love. We anticipate this being, in part, at a bilingual reading, as part of what we anticipate being a most spirited evening.

Event Registration


Aquí Era El Paraíso / Here Was Paradise: Selección de Poemas de Humberto Ak'abal / Selected Poems of Humberto Ak'abal Cover Image
ISBN: 9781773064956
Availability: Ships in 2-10 Days
Published: Groundwood Books - August 3rd, 2021

Killing Marias: A Poem For Multiple Voices Cover Image
ISBN: 9780998631448
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
(This book cannot be returned.)
Published: Two Sylvias Press - October 16th, 2017

There's a Revolution Outside, My Love: Letters from a Crisis Cover Image
By Tracy K. Smith (Editor), John Freeman (Editor)
ISBN: 9780593314692
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - May 11th, 2021

Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Monday, September 27, 2021 - 6:00pm
Time Zone: