portrait of Víctor de la Cruz

Víctor de la Cruz

Víctor de la Cruz (1948-2015) was an Oaxacan poet from Juchitán, a hub of Isthmus Zapotec art and culture on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. He compiled what is perhaps the most important anthology of Zapotec literature, The Flower of the Word. He earned a doctorate in Mesoamerican Studies, and his books of poetry include First Voice, Two that Three Poems, and IsthmusCorridos. He worked as a professor of social anthropology in the state of Oaxaca, and also edited Guaracha' Reza (Striped Iguana), a magazine of indigenous literature.

His translator, David Shook, writes: 'My first exposure to Víctor de la Cruz came from Pilar Máynez' 2003 book Lenguas y Literaturas Indígenas en el México Contemporáneo (UNAM). After having worked extensively to translate the work of fellow Juchiteco Víctor Terán (b. 1958), I investigated further, as Terán spoke of de la Cruz glowingly, as a pioneer of the generation that began engaging with the larger literary world through their Zapotec-language poetry.'

The poems on the PTC website come from several sources, including In the Flower of the Word (1984), Biguixhe (Fall 2001), and Zapotec Writing: 2500 Years of History (2003).

Víctor de la Cruz died in September 2015.

Poems by Víctor de la Cruz