BY Dolores Dorantes


ISBN: 9780984647521 (2016)

Bilingual edition. Translated from the Spanish by Jen Hofer.

Dolores Dorantes’s Style is a prose book in which a plural feminine voice narrates the vicissitudes of a war designed to suppress that voice. A voice that represents the war on the Mexico-U.S. border? Guerrilla adolescents taking their revenge? Enslaved girls who appear in order to combat a macho presidential figure linked to our current-day Central America? Latin America advancing on a fascist-capitalist government? These are some of the questions that might arise from Style. The book was written in 2011, in some dark place in Texas, during the first three months Dorantes was awaiting political asylum.

Dolores Dorantes is the author of Dolores Dorantes, a collection of four books written in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, two of which were co-published in 2008 by Kenning Editions and Counterpath Press, translated into English by Jen Hofer. In 2015, Ugly Duckling Presse published Dorantes’ collaboration with Rodrigo Flores Sánchez, Intervenir/Intervene, also translated by Hofer. Dorantes was 2014 winner of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Fellowship from the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany. She is a performer, journalist, and bookseller working out of her own mobile bookstore Librería Feminista, and is head of Cielo Portátil (for a free education). Her articles, poems and other texts have appeared in Los Angeles Review of Books, CultureStrike, and Harriet among others. Two of her ephemeral performances were presented at Machine Project in L.A. For six years she coordinated the headquarters of Documentación y Estudios de Mujeres, AC in Ciudad Juárez and she is founder of ¨Proyecto Sur Los Angeles” in the United States, where she has lived since 2011. Read more about Dorantes here, c/o Southern California Public Radio.

Jen Hofer is a Los Angeles-based poet, translator, social justice interpreter, teacher, knitter, book-maker, public letter-writer, urban cyclist, and co-founder (with John Pluecker) of the language justice and language experimentation collaborative Antena, which had a large-scale installation at the Blaffer Art Museum at University of Houston in 2014. Her translations include a bilingual version of Intervenir/Intervene, by Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flore Sánchez (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015); the chapbook En las maravillas/In Wonder (Libros Antena/Antena Books, 2012); Ivory Black, a translation of Negro marfil by Myriam Moscona (Les Figues Press 2011, winner of translation prizes from the Academy of American Poets and PEN); sexoPUROsexoVELOZ and Septiembre, a translation from Dolores Dorantes by Dolores Dorantes (Counterpath Press and Kenning Editions, 2008); and lip wolf, a translation of Laura Solórzano’s lobo de labio (Action Books, 2007). She teaches poetics, translation and bookmaking at CalArts and Otis College and works locally doing language justice advocacy with Antena Los Ángeles.

Ben Ehrenreich:

This is a brilliant, painful, and disturbing work. From the first page, Style/Estilo will tear you apart. Side effects will linger for weeks. Dorantes’ phrasing is blunt and unadorned. A few images circulate, gathering and unraveling meaning each time they recur: branches, birds, flowers, masks, “the skin of sky.” An unnamed “cluster of girls” narrates the poem, which is addressed to a murderous “you.” Behind each word—and inside each one, and all around it—lurks the violence of contemporary Mexico, and of the author’s native Ciudad Juárez. Dorantes works a cruel magic in these pages, transfiguring despair into a decimating beauty. In the original Spanish, and in Jen Hofer’s excellent English translation, this book burns with a rage that does not hope for healing.

Heriberto Yépez:

There’s a social emergency and a new poetic form in Dolores Dorantes’ work. Style/Estilo records these reports, this breathing. For many years, Jen Hofer has been re-producing and reflecting on her translational re-production of Dorantes’ lyric turbulence. There are two countries and there are two languages in this book. There are two books in this book.

Genève Chao:

The patterns of song in her cuáls and cons and ques provides certain pleasure, and Hofer’s English finds its own chant of which and with, exposing the weft of this network of girls, this army of girls calling out their erstwhile leaders, emerging from under the muddy boots of presidents to force men to meet their gaze.

Valeria Luiselli, Lithub:

I reread and taught Dolores Dorantes’s Style a compact epic-elegy about violence against women—possibly but not exclusively, in the US-Mexico borderlands. She wrote it in 2011, while waiting for her asylum case to be resolved, in Texas. It is, without a doubt, one of the best books of poetry written in this century. It has something of Henry Darger, something of Anne Carson, something of Eliot’s Wasteland. But in its utter uniqueness it’s not easy to place. It’s simply masterful.