María Sabina; edited by Jerome Rothenberg.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003. Octavo. Beige cloth boards with maroon titling stamped on the spine, small half inch red dash on the front board, else fine. No dust wrapper issued. 204 pages. First edition. Unread, fine.
A shaman and visionary—not a poet in any ordinary sense—María Sabina lived out her life in the Oaxacan mountain village of Huautla de Jiménez. She was, as Henry Munn describes her, "a genius [who] emerges from the soil of the communal, religious-therapeutic folk poetry of a native Mexican campesino people." She may also have been, in the words of the Mexican poet Homero Aridjis, "the greatest visionary poet in twentieth-century Latin America." These selections include a generous presentation from Sabina's recorded chants and a complete English translation of her oral autobiography, her vida, as written and arranged in her native language by her fellow Mazatec Alvaro Estrada. Accompanying essays and poems by Estrada, the ethnomycologist and stooge R. Gordon Wasson, and Henry Munn. The "queen of hallucinogenic mushrooms."
"There is a world beyond ours, a world that is far away, nearby, and invisible. And there it is where God lives, where the dead live, the spirits and the saints, a world where everything has already happened and everything is known. That world talks. It has a language of its own. I report what it says. The sacred mushroom takes me by the hand and brings me to the world where everything is known."