María Clemencia Sánchez
(Colombia, 1970)   
María Clemencia Sánchez

María Clemencia Sánchez, a poet and translator, studied languages at the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín. Her poems have been published in national magazines and newspapers, and she has been invited to several poetry festivals.

Some Colombian poets complain, and they are partly right, about the scant production of poetry written by women in Colombia, and about – and this is a more serious matter – the aesthetic barrenness of this production. Perhaps they are right, perhaps it is as if a good part of the poetry written by women (not ‘feminine poetry’, a quite silly category) disappeared with the untimely death of María Mercedes Carranza.

However, the vista is not quite so desolate. On these pages we have published poems by Carranza and by another living well-known poet and novelist, Piedad Bonnett. And more recently we have included poems by Andrea Cote and Lucía Estrada, two poets in their twenties, whose work is already firmly established.

María Clemencia Sánchez is not just a writer with promise: she has a firm and consistent poetic personality and, like the poets mentioned above, has resisted writing the lamentations of abandoned women or deplorable bedroom eroticism, so frequent in the poetry of many women writing in Colombia and, I suspect, in Latin America. On the contrary, lines like,

            is to find silence...
            It is the glass of water
            that we leave at night
            for the dead
            who come back
            to quench
            their thirst for word…

belong to a poet who has not given in to the temptation of the immediacy of emotion. In the case of María Clemencia Sánchez, emotion (essential in all poetic creation) is filtered and refined by the other conditions without which the production of poetry is impossible: reflection, a creative instinct and knowledge of the tradition and the craft.

There is in Sánchez’s poetry the anguished lyricism of a perplexed and longing ego, never submissive but in permanent rebellion, devoid of tragic overstatement or resentful whining:

            A dream keeps me awake
            a closed eye gives me the light…
            to me,
            ignoring the water that washes
            the happy ones,
            having not seen the lands
            where the sweetest drums sound.

© Gabriel Jaime Franco (Translated by Nicolás Suescún)

El velorio de la amanuense, Editorial Lealón, Medellín, 1999. <p>

In Spanish
Magazine of the Faculty of Humanity and Philosophy of the University of Chile. Two poems:


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