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Luz Helena Cordero
(Colombia, 1961)   
 
 
 
Luz Helena Cordero

Luz Helena Cordero Villamizar was born in Bucaramanga and is a professional psychologist. She has written short stories, poems and essays. She has been included in all recent anthologies of Colombian poetry and has been awarded several prizes.

Love as an experience of the estrangement of the senses is the main theme in Luz Helena Cordero’s poetry. The experience of love that she likens to the experience of being captive, is also accompanied by fear. In her book, Óyeme con los ojos (“Hear me with your eyes”) the balancing point between love and terror, love and death — this most common duality — is evident. 

When Luz Helena tells her own story in her poems, she appears as the captive Helen in Troy, the breakers of horses and the armored Achaeans engaged in the dispute of love. Her experience also allows us a greater understanding of the image of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the nun of the Viceroyalty of New Spain who said of herself: “I, the worst of all”. This is the title of one of Cordero’s poems in Óyeme con los ojos; it brings us closer to the great Mexican poet, and offers her main exposition of love's confinement, a theme expressed by the image of the captive Sor Juana in the convent of Saint Jerome embroidering her romances and dirges onto paper.

The profane love of Luz Helena stands in contrast to the mystic raptures of Sor Juana who sees in the figure of love “claws, abysms and hell”. Love is “war without hatred” when revisited by the Colombian, quite different from the sublimation of the Mexican nun. The poet points out Sor Juana's palimpsest of two conjoined erotic signs: “the cross on her skirt,” and is surprised and impressed by the nun’s poetry: “With so much flight in her pen, her forehead was full of birds”.

Fascinated by the flight of the Mexican nun, Luz Helena wants only to add her own, genuine emphasis to the story. Her words which seem almost motionless on the surface but torrential in the depths, reflect the impetuous silence of the forces of nature: the sea, earth and sky, the first constituent elements of Luz Helena’s expressive world.

© Alvaro Marín (Translated by Nicolás Suecún)

Bibliography
Poetry

Cielo ausente, Ediciones Sociedad de la Imaginación, Bogotá, 2001
Óyeme con los ojos, Trilce Editores, Bogotá, 1996

Short fiction
Canción para matar el miedo, Editorial Magisterio, Bogotá, 1997
El puente está quebrado, Editorial Magisterio, Bogotá, 1998

 



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