Maneuvering Time and Place: The Poetry of Manuel Maples Arce

Forbes, Diane J.

454 pages – in English

ISBN: 978-1-949938-16-6
Library of Congress Control Number: 2022937210

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«Estridentismo», the Manuel Maples Arce avant-garde movement in Mexico, was an energetic disruption which brought the Mexican Revolution to the arts, and brought the Mexican literary community into the XX century.
Manuel Maples Arce was a driving force in the modernization of Mexican poetry in the 1920s, and his complete work, spanning more than six decades, is of a value that should create for him a respected place among the most prominent Latin American poets of the twentieth century.
In this study, historical literary references and connections are made to aid the reader in placing the Maples Arce work in relevant context to gauge his merit and to justify his place in Hispanic letters.
An introduction to the historical avant- garde is given to provide the necessary background and context, especially for the English-language readership, and an overview of «Estridentismo» is included both for the sake of information and to rectify errors and omissions in some past criticism. It is the aim of this study to illustrate the cohesiveness and the trajectory of the Maples Arce complete poetry.
The introduction sets «Estridentismo» in the context of the historical avant-garde and modern poetry.
Chapter Two analyzes the first volume of his poetry in the Estridentismo period, Andamios Interiores (1922), in which Maples Arce shows us his style and outlook and presents the basic problem dealt with in all of his poetry. The persona in these poems, the «yo,» appears to be a poet, and may or may not be an autobiographical representation of Maples Arce.
The use of the terms «protagonist» and «persona» throughout the study to refer to this voice. In a world where nothing seems to last, where everything seems to slip through his hands, the protagonist of the poems strives to overcome separation and transitoriness, to achieve union and permanence: this is the main issue in the Maples Arce poetry.
The poems present in a variety of ways the protagonist situations of loneliness and separation from a loved one, and often a sense of dissociation from some ideal harmonious world, even in the midst of exciting modernity.
This close study of the poems, with textual analysis, is absolutely necessary in order to gain a true understanding of Maples contribution to modern poetry. The analysis of the poems presents the idea of a destruction/creation dichotomy or cycle which spans the Maples Arce poetic work.
An examination of the complete poetry, as collected in Las semillas del tiempo, (for a bilingual Spanish-English edition see Stockcero, 2022, ISBN 978-1-949938-16-6) hows how this thematic thread runs through all of the poems and explains the continuity which exists from beginning to end of the Maples Arce career. The study shows the maturation and evolution of an accomplished poet, whose work has withstood the test of time and belongs among the best of the century.
Diane J. Forbes
(PhD, Penn State University)
Associate Professor of Spanish
Rochester Institute of Technology


  • From Time to Timelessness: the Poetry of Manuel Maples Arce

Selected Publications

  • The Seeds of Time: Poetry of Manuel Maples Arce, 1919-1980, translation, bilingual edition with introduction (Doral, FL: Stockcero, 2022).
  • Translation of book chapter (Spanish to English): “Paradise Lost: A Reading of Waslala from the Perspectives of Feminist Utopianism and Ecofeminism,” by Marisa Pereya (translated by Diane J. Forbes), The Natural World in Latin American Literatures: Ecocritical Essays on Twentieth Century Writings. Jefferson NC and London: McFarland & Company Inc. Publishers, 2010, pp. 136-153
  • 3 Translations: “The Scissors,” “The Winning Hand,” “A Croc’s Dream,” translations of three stories by Antonio Benítez Rojo for an anthology of his work, The Magic Dog and other stories, ed. Frank Janney.  Hanover, NH: Ediciones del Norte, 1990.
  • Translation of “Buchenwald,” poem by José Kozer, in Philosophy and Literature in Latin America: An Assessment of the Current Situation, eds. Jorge J. E. Gracia and Mireya Camurati.  Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1989.
  • Book Review of The Ark Upon the Number by José Kozer (translated by Ammiel Alcalay), Modern Jewish Studies Annual VI (Yiddish Vol. VI, No.4), Queens College Press, 1987.
  • Book Review of Estatuas Sepultadas y otros relatos by Antonio Benítez-Rojo, Linden Lane Magazine, January/March 1987.
  • 6 Translations: “But What if I Liked the Panchos, Not the Beatles,” short story by Magolo [Cárdenas]; “Last Vision of the Promised Land,” poem by Jesús Cabel; “love and bodies,” “in you,” “celebration,” “better yet, dreamed,” poems by Javier Sologuren. All in Anthology of Contemporary Latin American Literature 1960-1984, eds. Barry J. Luby and Wayne H. Finke.  Associated University Presses, 1986.
  • Book Review of Poetry in Transition: Mexican Poetry of the 1960s and 1970s, eds. Linda Scheer & Miguel Flores Ramírez, Enlace 5/6, diciembre 1985.
  • Book Review–Article, Las semillas del tiempo, de Manuel Maples Arce,” Hispanófila, Spring 1984.
  • “La ciudad revolucionaria: estridencias y reflexiones de Maples Arce,” in Los escritores y la experiencia de la ciudad moderna,ed. Juan Cruz Mendizábal.  Proceedings of the 1983 IX Annual Hispanic Literatures Conference.  Indiana, PA: Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 1983.
  • “Allusions to the Music of Robert Schumann in the Poem ‘En la dolencia estática’ by Manuel Maples Arce,” Rimas y palabras, No.1, 1981.

Selected Conference Papers

  • In preparation: “Ser o no ser: Maples Arce conversa con Hamlet.”
  • “Manuel Maples Arce’s ‘Prisma’: Shattered Mirrors to Piece Together,” for XXIII Congreso Internacional de Literatura y Estudios   Hispánicos (CILH), sponsored by Lock Haven University, PA, Santiago, Chile, March 2019.
  • “Balance de ciudad y revolución en el URBE de Manuel Maples Arce, 1924,” XXI Congreso Internacional de Literatura y Estudios Hispánicos (CILH), Sponsored by Lock Haven University, PA. Quito, Ecuador, March 2018.
  • “Luis Cardoza y Aragón: Luna-Park y Guatemala: Las líneas de su mano,” XV Congreso Internacional de Literatura Hispánica (CILH), Sponsored by Lock Haven University, PA. Antigua, Guatemala, March 2015.
  • “Rogelio Sinán y Manuel Maples Arce: Lazos humanistas en su poesía,” AATSP  Conference, Panama   City, Panama, July 2014.
  • “Manuel Maples Arce: Su trayectoria de vanguardista a existencialista,” AATSP Conference, Guadalajara, Mexico, July 2010.
  • “Sounds & Silences in Manuel Maples Arce’s Estridentismo,” conference The Space Between Society: Literature and Culture, 1914-1945,” University of Notre Dame (Indiana), June 2009.
  • “Los Andamios Interiores de Manuel Maples Arce y la muerte del Modernismo,” Congreso Internacional de Literatura Hispánica (CILH), Sponsored by Lock Haven University, PA. Puntarenas, Costa Rica, March 2009.
  • “Los peligros de la metrópoli moderna al espíritu humano: visión de Manuel Maples Arce y Jean Charlot, ayer y hoy,” IV Congreso Internacional de Literatura Hispánica (CILH), Sponsored by Lock Haven University, PA. Bayahibe, Dominican Republic.  March 2005.
  • “Manuel Maples Arce y César Vallejo en el 80 aniversario de Andamios Interiores y Trilce, II Congreso Internacional de Literatura Hispánica (CILH), Sponsored by Lock Haven University, PA. Universidad Católica, Lima, Perú. March 2003.
  • “Manuel Maples Arce,” World Modernisms session, Modernist Studies Association Conference. University of Wisconsin, Madison WI. October 2002.
  • Manuel Maples Arce: Forgotten Leader of Mexican Vanguardismo.” In Search of Modern Mexico: An International Symposium in Honor of Octavio Paz, Kentucky Foreign Language Conference. University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. April 1999.
  • “Measuring Up: Manuel Maples Arce Meets Octavio Paz and T.S. Eliot in the Eternal Return,” 38th Annual Mountain Interstate Foreign Language Conference.  University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN.  October 1988.
  • “The Anthology Battle Between Estridentistas and Contemporáneos: Mixing Life with Art,” Southeast Conference on Foreign Languages and Literatures.  Rollins College, Winter Park, FL. February 1985.
  • “La ciudad revolucionaria: estridencias y reflexiones de Maples Arce,” IX Annual Hispanic Literatures Conference. Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA. October 1983.
  • “Creation and Destruction in the Poetry of Manuel Maples Arce,” Southeast Conference on Romance Languages and Literatures.  Rollins College, Winter Park, FL.  February 1983.