Juana Adcock was born in Monterrey, Mexico, in 1982, and now lives in Glasgow. She is a poet and translator working in English and Spanish. Her first book, Manca, explores the anatomy of violence in Mexico and was named by Reforma‘s distinguished critic Sergio González Rodríguez as one of the best poetry books published in 2014.
I saw Juana reading as part of the Wales International Poetry Festival earlier this year. Afterwards, she spoke of what it is like to see and hear about violence taking place in your home country when you live on the other side of the world. She spoke about how sometimes it feels as though the only way left to respond to violence is through humour.
I had this in mind when I asked Juana what she thought about me making a comic out of her poem, ‘Este Cuerpo de Mujer que Habito’ (‘This Body of a Woman I Inhabit’). It is not a ‘funny’ poem, in fact when I heard it, I had to try very hard not to cry (it’s that last line, I tell you!). However, the more I read it, the more I began to see a subtle humour contained within it, and I’ve tried to reflect that in the finished poem comic.
I speak Spanish, up to a point, so this was like a double translation exercise for me, in that I think of the drawings as their own translations of the poem. I am very grateful to Juana for her patience because I had to ask her a lot of questions about the poem’s meaning as well as the language. Who knew that ‘clutching at eggs’ is also ‘grabbing one’s balls’?!
I’ve kept the piece in its original Spanish, but you can hear Juana reading it in both Spanish and English below (which I highly recommend). We plan to print this as a litho comic, so keep an eye on the Mother Mary Press website!
You can read more of Juana’s work here.
(Poem in English)
(Poem in Spanish)