A heartbreaking, unforgettable collection by the great Mexican poet Coral Bracho about her mother’s Alzheimer’s, exquisitely translated by the Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Forrest Gander
It Must Be a Misunderstanding is the acclaimed Mexican poet Coral Bracho’s most personal and emotive collection to date, dedicated to her mother who died of complications from Alzheimer’s. Remarkably, Bracho, author and daughter, seems to disappear into her own empathic observations as her mother comes clear to us not as a tragic figure, but as a fiery and independent personality. The chemistry between them is vivid, poignant, and unforgettable. As the translator Forrest Gander explains in his introduction, the book’s force “builds as the poems cycle through their sequences”— from early to late Alzheimer’s—“with non-judgmental affection and compassionate watchfulness.”
About the Author
CORAL BRACHO was born in Mexico City in 1951. She is the author of several books of poems including Tierra de entrana ardiente, a collaboration with the painter Irma Palacios. Among her grants and prizes are the Aguascalientes National Poetry Prize in 1981 and a Guggenheim fellowship in 2000. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Bomb, Conjunctions, The Nation, and Poetry International.
FORREST GANDER lives in northern California and has published books of poems, translations, and essays. He has won numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Be With, and the Best Translated Book Award, as well as fellowships from the Library of Congress, the Guggenheim Foundation, and United States Artists.
Her work has altered the landscape of Mexican poetry in a way that is comparable to John Ashbery’s in the U.S. — Poetry
Our losses have a way of locking us inside ourselves. But in It Must Be a Misunderstanding, Bracho endeavors against the odds to forge an “avid, intimate alliance / with the species,” keeping her eyes on the vanishingly few things that bind her to someone whose reality she’s no longer privileged to share.
— Andrew Chan - 4Columns
Like Paz, Bracho proceeds through association, moving from one motif to the next, rather than sketching a unified description. Her images, however, are less symbolic than his and more tactile (pulp, juice, moss), and her music, which Gander superbly re-creates, is less ringing and more sensual, slowed down by punctuation. — Ratik Asokan - Poetry Foundation