The course Global Literature: Modern Writings from Women of the Non-Western World was one of the most important college classes I’ve ever taken as a writer. Dr. Jo Dulan at Salem College taught this literature course. It allowed me the ability to break out of US literature and explore books on a more global scale from the vital perspective of a woman writer.

In appreciation of this experience, I have researched a few authors from various countries, provinces, regions, etc. outside of the USA that have translated works available in English; many of the writers have works available in their native tongues and other languages as well. This series is merely a tool to introduce you to a large amount of important writers.

I do not propose that the written works or the writers that I feature are the most important, the most popular, or are able to speak for an entire identity or culture. Rather, I am hoping to simply give suggestions to create interest in global literature. It is important to recognize writers — especially women, who are often underrepresented — from all parts of the world.

Keep an open mind as you read. Sometimes things are lost in translation, and sometimes a subject may take more research to understand.

This post will cover a few authors from Venezuela. Please feel free to suggest additional authors in the comments. You can find last month’s post here.

Ana Enriqueta Terán

Venezuelan poet Ana Enriqueta Terán (1918)

Ana Enriqueta Terán (born in Valera on May 4, 1918) is a Venezuelan poet. She is “one of the well known Venezuelan poets, especially because of her special use of words. Terán has written in several publications and all her works are compiled in Casa de hablas (1991). She won the National Prize for Literature in 1989.”

Try thisThe Poetess Counts to 100 and Bows Out:
Selected Poems by Ana Enriqueta Terán

Overview of The Poetess Counts to 100 and Bows Out:
Selected Poems
from Princeton University Press

“Ana Enriqueta Terán is arguably Venezuela’s finest poet. Celebrated throughout the Spanish-speaking world, she is almost unknown among anglophones. Until now only a handful of her poems have been translated into English, giving at best a diluted impression of a uniquely intense imagination.

“This bilingual edition reveals the power and beauty of this poet’s Spanish poems through English versions of corresponding force. It invites readers to enter Terán’s world–a world at once strongly Venezuelan and universally human, imbued with great beauty, sardonic humor, pitiless compassion, lucid wisdom, and joyful affirmation.

“Selected from several volumes of Terán’s work, these poems span half a century of composition and show an extraordinary range in both form and substance. Some are written in closed forms, some in free verse. Some are carefully evocative representations of the landscapes and cityscapes that have nourished the poet’s intelligence and imagination. Others are dramatic character studies. All are infused with Terán’s rare sensibility and realized through language that manages to be at once graceful, urgent, and explosive. This volume is a treasure for all lovers of poetry.”

Learn more about Ana Enriqueta Terán.

Teresa de la Parra

Photograph of Teresa de la Parra in the 1920’s./Public Domain

Teresa de la Parra (October 5, 1889 – April 23, 1936) “was a Venezuelan novelist.” She was born in Paris, France.

Try this: Iphigenia by Teresa de la Parra

Overview of Iphigenia from University of Texas Press:

“A novel about a passionate woman who lacks the money to establish herself in the liberated, bohemian society she craves.”

Overview of Iphigenia from Wikipedia:

“De la Parra’s novel Iphigenia: Diary of a young lady who wrote because she was bored, published in 1924, marked a change in Venezuelan literature. Teresa de la Parra wrote most of the novel in 1921 and 1922 during the dictatorship of Juan Vicente Gómez. Some of the characters in the novel were maliciously close to caricatures of people who were then well known in Caracas society. The characters Abuelita, Tía Clara and César Leal represent strict adherence to morality. Ambitious and politically corrupt characters like Gabriel Olmedo and Tío Pancho also reflect moral freedom given to men, in contrast against the passive role assigned to women.”

Learn more about Teresa de la Parra.

Antonia Palacios

Venezuelan writer Antonia Palacios (1904-2001), winner of the National Prize for Literature of Venezuela in 1976 and the Municipal Prize for Literature of Caracas in 1982./Roberto Martínez Bachrich

Antonia Palacios (13 May 1904 – March 2001) was a “Venezuelan poet, novelist and essayist. She won the National Prize for Literature in 1976 and the Municipal Prize for Literature in 1982. Along with Miguel Otero Silva, Pablo Rojas Guardia, and Luis Castro, she was a member of the Generation of 1928.” She was born in Caracas, Venezuela.

Try this: Ana Isabel, A Respectable Girl by Antonia Palacios.

Overview of Ana Isabel, A Respectable Girl from FulbrightChicago:

Ana Isabel, A Respectable Girl (Universitas Press) was originally released in 1949. Written by Antonia Palacios Ana Isabel, una niña decente (in Spanish) is a classic coming-of-age story set in Caracas in the 1920s, exploring issues of race, class, and gender and exposing the colonial and patriarchal legacy of the country in the era before urban development and the dependence on an oil economy and in the midst of a dictatorship. Antonia Palacios (1904-2001) was one of the most important Venezuelan writers of the 20th century. A poet, novelist, essayist and short-story writer, she was also a prominent feminist and civil rights activist.

“The novel broke with the symbolic realist genre in vogue in Venezuelan narrative works and inaugurated a new form of feminine expression with poetic overtones. It takes on a confessional and autobiographical tone as it represents a young girl’s reality as she questions what it means to be respectable in her society. In describing his mother’s work, Fernán Frías points to the work’s ‘innocent sensuality’ and concludes that both young readers and adults can enjoy the work.”

Learn more about Antonia Palacios.

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