Ruge el bosque [The Forest Roars] is a collaborative project about literature and ecology. Our goal is to initiate transnational and intercultural conversations about the role of literature from
Abya Yala/Afro-/Latin America “Abya Yala” is the term the Guna people use to refer to the landmass known as “the hemispheric Americas.” We follow the Aymara leader Takir Mamani, and continental Indigenous movements, who have taken up “Abya Yala” as a way of resignifying the region based on Indigenous, rather than colonial, ways of knowing.
in the context of the current climate crisis. We seek to underscore how the region’s poetic production shapes emerging politics and literary ecologies; and how poetry works, especially in Indigenous communities, as a way of preserving endangered ecosystems and languages.
Together comprising a series of regional ecopoetry anthologies, each volume of Ruge el bosque is conceived of as a site of preservation and resistance for specific communities and territories in Latin America. The first volume, Ruge el bosque: ecopoesía del Cono Sur, highlights Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and their borderlands and includes poetry written in Indigenous languages, Spanish, and Portuñol (Caleta Olivia, 2023). The second volume, Ruge el bosque: ecopoesía de Mesoamerica (in progress), compiles poetic expressions written in Indigenous and criollo languages, as well as in English and Spanish from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, and Costa Rica. Subsequent volumes will focus on poetry from the Guianas and the Caribbean (vol. 3), the Andean states (vol. 4), and the Amazon Basin (vol. 5).
These literary anthologies are accompanied by a podcast and a digital map (under development). Situated at the intersection of the public and digital humanities, these interventions seek to expand the reach of the volumes by fostering hemispheric dialogues on ecology “from” and “about” Abya Yala/Afro-/Latinoamérica among activists, students, artists, and cultural institutions. In September 2022, Ruge el Bosque was invited to open the Buenos Aires International Literature Festival (FILBA) with a performance at the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA), and to participate as part of “Expanded Translation,” a panel discussion organized by Looren Latin America. Through interdisciplinary, transnational, and multilingual collaborations, we seek to create a poetic-political means of mapping the singular ways we dream, imagine, and design forms of resistance and futurity despite the widespread disappearance of natural, cultural, and linguistic diversity within American territories, in particular those south of the Rio Grande.
Valeria Meiller, Project Director and Editor.Valeria was born in the Callvú Leuvú basin. Translated into Spanish as “arroyo azul” or “blue stream,” the name refers to the hue that the reflection of the blue flowers on the shore gave to the river, and was the one given to the area by the Querandí peoples. She lived on a cattle ranch established in 1831, on stolen Indigenous land, by the “local justice of the peace,” an illegitimate son of Belgrano adopted by Rosas. There, her paternal great-grandfather planted a eucalyptus forest, as well as a grove to shade the cows, dug irrigation canals, and built mills. She grew up among horses and fruit trees, gathering peaches, plums and blackberries in the summer, and walnuts and persimmons in autumn. She witnessed the transition from traditional methods of crop cultivation, in which wheat, sunflower and pastures transmuted the flat line of the landscape into different colors, as they became supplanted by soybean monoculture: almost phosphorescent green, an illusion of the accelerated, devastating use of agrochemicals. She later moved to large cities, where one comes across rural landscapes only in museums, but she nevertheless continues to write about memory, indomitable, etched by wildfire into the pampas. She lives between New York and Texas, where she is a professor of social and environmental challenges in Latin America at the University of Texas, San Antonio.
Whitney DeVos, Editor.Whitney was born and raised on the unceded ancestral territories of the Gabrielino Tongva peoples, whose homeland Tovaangar includes the San Gabriel Valley and greater Los Angeles basin in California. The Tongva language is part of the Uzo-Aztecan language group, and shares the same root as Nahuatl spoken in Āltepētl Mēxihco and the Anahuac basin, where Whitney currently calls home. She is a writer, scholar, and translator specializing in literatures of the hemispheric Americas. Her work focuses on how, historically, poetic production has contested settler epistemologies, historiographies, temporal frameworks, racial formations, and cultural narratives. Much of her current translation work focuses on autochthonous languages of the hemispheric Americas, Nahuatl in particular. In 2022-2023, she returned to Tovaangar to teach as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Pitzer College, before resuming her studies in Nahuatl with the support of a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship and a Global South Translation Grant, funded by Cornell University’s Institute for Comparative Modernities.
Javiera Pérez Salerno, Editor.Javiera was born in Tandil, in a house that lies at the foot of the mountains. As a child, she believed all peoples of the world lived like that, without horizon. Then she became acquainted with the pampas, where she often sensed the absence of an immense gray cutting into her faroff gaze. Later, she moved to Buenos Aires and for many years forgot about her natal landscape, yet she always held the conviction that any time a road begins to incline, one has no choice but to ascend. A few summers ago, as the wind blew through a grove of eucalyptus leaves, she was reminded of her childhood. Today, she lives between the mountains and the city, accepting that we are simultaneously both singular and multitude, a hybrid being existing somewhere between the magnetic pull of the metropolis and the deep mystery of nature. Javiera is a scriptwriter and digital producer with a background in literary studies. Her work examines the role of literary production within a broad constellation of interdisciplinary conversations surrounding the relationship between art and technology. Her digital projects can be found online. For five years, she was a transmedia specialist for the public television channel Canal Encuentro. In 2020, she was the curator of digital space for the Buenos Aires International Literature Festival [FILBA]. She currently works for the independent publishing house Caja Negra Editora.
Clarisa Chervin, Graphic and Digital Design. Clarisa is a graphic designer who received her degree from the University of Buenos Aires. Her work focuses on publishing projects, branding and web, especially those related to arts and culture. She is a team member of the Visual Identity Direction with the University of San Martín, and co-directs the publishing project Espuma Editora. Clarisa was born and raised in Buenos Aires, a port city with an elusive relationship to its river and waterways. Throughout its history, local streams have been redirected to prevent flooding, and encroaching urbanization projects on both coasts have contributed to the erasure of the original landscape. Yet she also harbors a close relationship with the Paraná River, which she has visited on numerous trips to Corrientes province, where her father was born. There, by way of contrast, the river is part of the daily landscape of the city, integrating urban life with nature.
Celeste Precioso, Sound Design.Celeste is the sound editor of “Ecoteca,” Ruge el bosque’s acoustic forest. A graduate of the Andy Goldstein School of Photography in 2010, she later turned to film and tot editing her own materials. Her first explorations in audiovisual art were of a documentary nature, taking form in a series of short films titled “Brief essays on intimacy.” In 2015, she began studying cinematography at Punto Cine, but dropped out the following year. In 2019, she was admitted to the Torcuato Di Tella University Film Program, where she made her fictional short film “El universo desbocado” [The Runaway Universe] and her documentary debut, “Hi, Sweety,” the latter of which was shown at festivals such as the Mar del Plata International Film Festival and the Queer Lisbon International Film Festival, among others. Obsessed with details and textures, Celeste was born in the Caballito neighborhood at the center of Buenos Aires. That environment, full of constant movement and flows of information, led her to become obsessed with image and sound. She is especially attracted to landscapes charged with textures and flat level planes. She lives with two cats who get along better with her than with each other. A fan of long bus trips, she prefers the mountains to the beach. In 2012, she went to live in the Brazilian Highlands, where she learned to tend a garden and to overcome her fear of spiders.
Federico Durand, Music.Federico is a musician who creates introspective sonic spaces using repetitive, minimalistic melodies, the cyclical character of which invokes dreams and the secret life of gardens. His live performances are an organic process based on improvisations with a lyre, music boxes, cassettes, synthesizers, small objects, and pedals. He has performed and recorded in Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, Colombia, France, Switzerland, and Japan, collaborating with artists including Chihei Hatakeyama, Andrew Chalk, Stephan Mathieu, and ILLUHA, among others. Together with the Japanese musician Tomoyoshi Date, he forms Melodía, an ambient improvisation duo that has released three albums to date. In collaboration with the U.S.-born Taylor Deupree, he is a part of This Valley Of Old Mountains, a duo that released their debut album in 2020 with the independent record label 12k. Federico spent his childhood at his grandparents’ house in Muñiz, in Greater Buenos Aires. The house, one of the neighborhood’s first, was constructed on land that once housed extensive nurseries: though he never saw them, they somehow always seemed to hold a strong presence in the stories he was told as a child. His grandparents had a chicken coop and lots of plants. Strong in his memory is the backyard: home to a pine tree, tangled with an orchid, ferns, an orange tree, a tangerine tree. Hidden by privet, a door connected the house with the neighbors’ garden. Sometimes, on summer afternoons, he’d enter into that other garden, with its fox grapevine and orchard. As a child, he liked playing by himself, collecting stamps, and riding his bicycle through tree-lined streets and into vacant lots and an abandoned factory. Now, from time to time, he dreams about climbing roofs and dividing walls. He lives in the Sierras of Córdoba with his family in a house, also with a garden, though this one looks out upon the mountains.
Analía Iglesias, Art. Analía Iglesias is known as @afroana_ on social networks. One might say she became a collagist by chance, a saxophonist through the musical heritage of her ancestors, and a multimedia artist by following a constant urge to venture into new forms of expression. She began her exploration of herself as an artist and visual designer through various forms of collage, illustration, and animation. Designers say she is very much a visual artist and, visual artists, that she is very much a designer, so she just says that she likes to create universes full of color, infinite curiosity, and love. Her work is a mixture of graphic art, illustration, and collage. Analía uses digital art as a form of storytelling, one that proudly centers the ancestrality she dwells within. A powerful means of social critique, all art, she believes, should be politically committed to our collective experience. Her work takes Afrofuturism as its primary axis, a way of breaking with capitalist schemas of evolution and progress, and of understanding where we come from in order to know better than ever where we are headed. This quest, grounded in her African and indigenous roots, combines media, research, and the arts in order to convey–and materialize–the idea of an Ancestral Future.
Sofía Stel, Proofreader.A sociologist who has worked for almost ten years at Caja Negra Editora, Sofia was born in Buenos Aires. Since her childhood, a profound sense of justice has guided her in studying, thinking, and taking action in ways that contribute to dream-making a world based on greater solidarity, and the dismantling of oppression and domination: not only for human beings, but for all animals. An avid reader from a very young age, she once remarked: “When I grow up I want to live off reading.” Today, surrounded by books, page proofs, and translations, she can say her wish has come true. And since, when something is desired very strongly, the entire Universe conspires to make it so, she is hopeful that more just forms of interspecies cohabitation will be realized.
Stefanie Naoun, Research Assistant.Stefanie was born in the autonomous municipality of San Diego, Venezuela, on land that once belonged to the group of hunter-gatherer peoples known as the Arawak. The Arawak were displaced with the onset of urban development; located in northern Venezuela, San Diego is part of the metropolitan area of Valencia, a city surrounded by a mountain range abutting the Caribbean Sea, the Cordillera de la Costa. Stefanie grew up in a house at a remove from the city, with a view of the mountains. Surrounding her were plantations of yucca, corn, cassava, cacao, and sugar cane. Oranges and mandarins were also cultivated on a large scale. With a certain wistfulness, she often recalls the morning mist, chirping crickets, and pristine air. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Letters at the University of Texas, San Antonio, where today she continues her studies at the graduate level.