ABSTRACT

Elena Poniatowska is a well-known Mexican writer who has developed refined literary strategies in order to represent in her texts the unheard voices that echo in history and society. Her powerful novel Hasta no verte, Jesús mío recounts the life story of a soldadera, a woman who followed the army to provide food, drink, care, and other services to the soldiers during the Mexican Revolution. In Querido Diego, she imagines the feelings, hopes, and final despair of one of Diego de Rivera's mistresses, a painter who agonizes in poverty and loneliness in Paris after Diego has left for Mexico. In both books, Poniatowska has proven that new genres (that oscillate between fiction and nonfiction) can take up experiences originating in other social spaces or in the past. With Massacre in Mexico, she describes the political demonstrations and the cruel repression by both the army and the police that took place in 1968 in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Mexico City, resulting in hundreds of dead and wounded, among them students, women, and children. Poniatowska organizes the text according to the often fragmented discourse of people who were there, supplementing these with newspaper clippings and documents. Poniatowska pays keen attention to the voices of women, students, and political militants, giving them the verbal structure that allows them to persist. Through Massacre in Mexico, Poniatowska proves that a woman writing can cross the border of the private in order to place her practice in the public dimension, turning personal words and thoughts into a collective experience.