Born in Medellín, Colombia, in 1960, Liana Mejía won the University of Antioquia’s IV National Poetry Award in 1982, followed by the University of Nariño’s Awaska National Poetry award in 1984. In its early years, she was a member of the Prometeo magazine editorial commitee. Liana writes, she says, because she has to, and notes that a poem “shares your essence in a way, it seems, that enables others to see the passing of your life through it, and that is always dangerous; baring your soul makes you more vulnerable with each poem.”
Liana Mejía’s poems confront death. Medellín, tragically legendary for its crime and violence, is accurately captured in her writing. Without being named, her home city is identifiable through her poems’ imagery, mood and descriptions; through their language of shadows and fear. It is a language that manages to intertwine the sacred with eroticism, death and disquiet, producing tension, yet not denying love: this is what is insinuated in the naming of the shadows and the city’s horrors.
Her poetry represents a departure from a tendency to praise the feminine. In her work, femininity is neither a subject nor an obsession. Neither are her love poems conventional or languid. Rather, her depiction of lovemaking is unique and sincere, a great expressive leap away from the proliferating clichés of so-called ‘feminine poetry’. Everyday life is also a source of poetic revelation to Liana Mejía; her poems show us a particular way of perceiving the world and of being in it. Through the expressive territory of her work she reveals reality to us and gives us back its mystery.
Extraña en mi memoria (Stranger in my Memory), Universidad de Antioquia Publishing House, National Poetry Award Collection, 1982
Los viajeros del sueño (Travelers of Dreams), Universidad de Nariño, Department of Human Studies, Awasca Writer’s Workshop, 1985.
Liana Mejía’s page on the International Poetry Festival of Medellín website (in Spanish)