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A Poet Turns Her Eye to El Salvador
December 17, 2007

This past week I learned of a new poetry collection by Boston-area poet Gloria Mindock that evolved from her work with Salvadoran refugees, especially women. The collection is titled Blood Soaked Dresses, and is dedicated to Rufina Amaya, the lone survivor of the El Mozote massacre, in which members of the U.S.-trained Atlacatl Battalion wiped out the entire village of El Mozote in the department of Morazán as part of a scorched earth strategy against peasants in this remote, rural region of El Salvador.

Mindock knows only too well that the events of the Salvadoran civil war are fading in modern memory, and it is precisely fear of that pitiless oblivion, plus a fiery rage against man's cruelty and duplicity, that inspires her poetry.

Mindock could hardly have found a better muse for such an effort than Rufina Amaya, who heard her own daughters cry out for her as they were murdered, and dedicated her life to an attempt to seek justice for the killers who invaded her village in December, 1981. For more than a decade, she was called a liar by supporters of the Salvadoran government and its American apologists in the Reagan administration and the press, specifically the Wall Street Journal. She was ultimately vindicated after forensic anthropologists exhumed the remains of the massacre victims in the wake of the 1992 peace accords. (Ms. Amaya died in March of this past year. For an excellent memorial to her, written by the renowned journalist Alma Guillermoprieto, who personally visited El Mozote shortly after the massacre, go here.

For a link to an article on Gloria Mindock and her poetry collection, go here.

Mindock is also the author of a forthcoming poetry collection titled Nothing Divine Here, and she is the current editor of both the Cervaná Barva Press and the online journal Istanbul Literature Review; she is also the former editor of the Boston Literary Review.

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