Beyond the Sea brings together two book-length sequences first published in Mexico in the early years of the century, both taking their origins from Greece, a matter of central importance for the poet for many years. Fittingly, for subject-matter thoroughly drenched in the Greek past, the poems are odes and dithyrambs, with the spirit of one sequence being Apollonian, while the other is Dionysian. The gods are there, and imagery that has echoed across the centuries is here transposed into a limpid modern Mexican poetry, composed with the lightest of touches. Here the Mayans of Bonampak meet the Mians of Kssos, united across the centuries and thousands of miles by their preservation in wall-paintings, and by their observer. Here the gods meet our gaze, and come forth, raised from the ashes of history. They are t dead; they are t forgotten; they have merely been sleeping, only to be awoken by the poet. Elsa Cross is one of the most important living Mexican poets, and this fine translation by the Irish poet, Anamaria Crowe Serra, does her work spectacular justice.
Elsa Cross (Mexico City, 1946), has a Ph.D. in Philosophy and been consistently publishing her poems since the early '60s. Her life's work was gathered in Poesia completa 1964-2012 (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Economica, 2012), a mag-isterial collected edition that runs to almost 800 pages. 6 of the 28 volumes col-lected in that book received major prizes, including the Aguascalientes National Poetry Prize (1989), the Jaime Sabines International Poetry Prize (1992) and the Xavier Villaurrutia Prize (2007). More recently she has been awarded the National University (UNAM) Prize (2009) and the Poestate Prize (Lugano, 2015). Her work has been translated into many languages and has been featured in many anthologies in the USA and throughout Europe. She teaches philosophy of religion at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.