Álvaro Calfucoy Gutiérrez, translated by the Editors
I’ve chosen to present these poems to readers in both Spanish and Mapudungun. In some cases, both languages merge within the same text. In writing the Mapuche language, I’ve used the Unified Alphabet, which I find to be the best option to teach people who read and write in Spanish. However, I have made a few modifications to this system: I’ve replaced D with Z, and I use apostrophes for interdental sounds (l’, n’, t’), as we lack a more accessible option on contemporary keyboards.
The translations of the verses in Mapudungun are intentionally presented as footnotes at the end of each text to challenge the effect that bilingual editions create when they are only read in one language on only one side. I intend to force Spanish-language readers to leave their comfort zones as they navigate their way through this other space that centers our language, a language that has spent enough time at the margins of discourse. The inclusion of these translations is an invitation to understand us with respect to the spaces that have been stolen from us.
There is a certain lexicon that—though bearing Spanish equivalents—I have decided to leave in the Mapudungun, both for its cultural implications and as a way to preserve this form of signification, which must never be lost. Following this line of thought, I have purposefully left “Bandera 361” untranslated as a sign of respect for the Chemamüll to which it is dedicated.
The poems “Aywiñtuwün” and “Taiñ mapuzunguam fillke püle” were first published in Maleza, escritos literarios diversos, a digital book that can be downloaded for free at this link.
We’ve translated these poems following the methodology established in Calfucoy’s introduction. Though the Castilian has been carried over into the English language, we’ve left the poems’ use of Mapudungun untouched to maintain the decentralization of colonial languages and the centering of Mapudungun, as well as to provide English-language readers the same experience of navigating a text in which their own language has been pushed to the margins. As an extension of Calfucoy’s decision to maintain a culturally significant lexicon entirely in the Mapudungun, we have also chosen not to include explanatory notes for the Mapuche cultural references. In recreating the experience of reading these poems in their original context, English-language readers, like their Spanish-reading counterparts, must use these texts as a starting point to learn more about Mapuche culture and the language of Mapudungun—an extension of the decolonization process that these poems implore.