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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Manuel Maples Arce was a driving force in the modernization of Mexican poetry in the 1920s. His «Estridentismo» was an energetic avant-garde movement that brought the Mexican Revolution to the arts, and the Mexican literary community into the 20th century. Maples’ poetry, spanning more than six decades, is of a value that should create for him a respected place among the prominent Latin American poets of the 20th century.
In this study, historical literary references and connections are made to aid the reader in placing Maples Arce’s work in context to gauge his merit and to justify his place in Hispanic letters.
The introduction to the historical avant-garde provides 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 Maples Arce’s poetry.
The persona or protagonist in these poems, the «yo,» appears to be a poet, and may or may not be an autobiographical Maples Arce. He goes from Cubist poems that present life in the jazz age and modern inventions, to somber existential poems that show the creative force of art across history, to carefully crafted sonnets that ponder mortality, and a dialogue interacting with Hamlet. 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 Maples Arce’s poetry. The poems present in a variety of ways the protagonist’s 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 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 Maples Arce’s poetic work.
An examination of the complete poetry, as collected in Las semillas del tiempo, shows how this thematic thread runs through all of the poems and explains the continuity which exists from beginning to end of Maples Arce’s 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.
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) shows 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

Dissertation

  • 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.
    • “The Scissors,” by Antonio Benítez Rojo, also appearing in The Picador Book of Latin American Stories, Eds. Carlos Fuentes and Julio Ortega. Picador/MacMillan, 1998.
  • 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.