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María Sabina: Selections (Poets for the Millennium)

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A few centuries ago, Maria Sabina would have lived, performed her healing work, and died in the Oaxacan hills of south central Mexico, renowned in her area but unknown outside it. But, born early in the twentieth century, she was at the height of her powers when cross-cultural explorers arrived in her village to record her shamanic chants, full of Catholic imagery and spoken extemporaneously under the influence of sacramental peyote. That her work should become part of the series Poets for the Millennium, a spin-off from the two-volume Poems for the Millenium (1995, 1998), seems at first odd, but ethnopoetic theorist and poet Rothenberg justifies selecting her in a compelling discussion of her complex understanding of the mushroom's healing language. Magic and poetry intersect in her worldview, which challenges the dualistic Western philosophic framework. Several prose and poetic pieces about Maria Sabina are included to flesh out the chants themselves. Patricia Monaghan
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"Ethnopoetic theorist and poet Rothenberg [presents] a compelling discussion of Sabina's complex understanding of the mushroom's healing language. Magic and Poetry intersect in her worldview."--Booklist -- Review

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Product Details

  • Series: Poets for the Millennium (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 225 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition edition (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520233603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520233607
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,242,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By M. Hori on February 1, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jerome Rothenberg presents a wonderful introduction to the life, visions, and works of this illiterate healer who cured with her words in the midst of mushroom-induced trances. She lived most of her life in grinding poverty in the Oaxacan village of Huautla de Jimenez in Mexico, comforted only by the visions of the "little ones"--hallucinogenic mushrooms. In the midst of one of her visionary encounters, she was invited to read a holy book and the words she saw there gave her the power to create long chants about herself as the healing woman/the sun woman/the silk scarf woman/the doll woman/the bruised woman/the tungsten woman, and on and on in a manner similar to the great "Thunder the Perfect Mind" text in the Nag Hammadi Library. In fact, some of the similarities are uncanny between this anonymous, gnostic-like text, and the words of this poor woman from the Mexican countryside. Both the story of her life, and the translation offered here of her words, are so powerful that you will never forget Maria Sabina. This humble woman has long been a member of my Pantheon of Makers.
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