Cristina Cortez publishes Tawantinsuyu: Poems of the Time of the Inca


MFA alum Cristina Cortez (’18) has published a new book, Tawantinsuyu: Poems of the Time of the Inca, a bilingual English/Spanish edition. A representation of the Andean past, each poem is a celebration of the cultural achievements of the indigenous people and is written from the perspective of the structures that were built during the Inca period.

Tawantinsuyu would not exist in its current form if it were not for the influences of the texts I encountered through my classes with UW Bothell faculty members Joe Milutis, Sarah Dowling, and Amaranth Borsuk,” says Cortez. “I was enabled to envision a text that would serve as a counter-narrative to the European centric history of the American continent that at their core recount historical events from the indigenous perspective by dispensing with conventional stylistic and grammatical rules whenever possible and appropriate.

Tawantinsuyu coverTawantinsuyu is a poetic retelling of the history of Peru that begins with the arrival of the first indigenous peoples to the region and ends with the rise and fall of the Incan Empire. Though the Incas and their empire are now mostly encountered in historical texts, the monuments built by those peoples still stand today. In the book’s anthropomorphic and Gothic style, the monuments, themselves seek to tell the story of the people who built them.

Tawantinsuyu was intentionally released as a bilingual edition. It was important to me that my poems be translated into Spanish so that the material could be accessible to readers in the Latin American community. I am glad my publisher from Books&Smith respected and upheld my vision for the book.

The final product is the result of a team of collaborators, including fellow authors who served as editors of previous drafts, the translator, the cover designer, and the official editor and publisher. Tawantinsuyu: Poems of the Time of the Inca is a book that deals with overarching themes of indigeneity, reconciliation, heritage, identity, and diversity. The readers of the book will get an immersive historical experience. I invite you to get your copy today."

Cortez is a first-generation Latin-American poet born to immigrant parents. Cortez holds a BA in English, Creative Writing & Literature, and History with Minors in Latin American & Caribbean Studies with Honors & Distinction, from Hofstra University (2015). Her MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics thesis, Un-bound, is cross-genre memoir about living life with a disability. Cortez was a speaker at TEDx Everett (March 2017), and her work has been published in I Come From the World Literary Journal (Summer 2017) and La Guagua Poetry Anthology: Celebration & Confrontation (March 2019). She also writes for the United Spinal Association’s New Mobility Magazine, a publication for active wheelchair users. Most recently, Cortez has attained a LEND Fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital (2019-2020).

You can follow her at:

Jaguar: An Indigenous History Long Poem (on Facebook)

Un-bound: A Memoir on living life with a disability (on Facebook)

Cristina Cortez, Author (on Facebook)

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