Dolores Dorantes, poet, storyteller, activist and Buddhist, was born in Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico, but raised in Ciudad Juárez, right next door to El Paso, which is just across the border in the US.
Since the early 1990s, the area around Ciudad Juárez has become infamous for its escalating violence against women. And it is especially the women working in one of the region's many maquiladoras (manufacturing plants) who are at risk. Intensively engaging with this femicide, Dorantes is committed to the cause of these women. One of the ways she does so is by working with Documentación y Estudios de Mujeres A.C. (DEMAC), an organisation helping marginalized, poor women write down their stories.
Dorantes openly accuses the Mexican government for failing to stop the violence. And along with her fellow activists, she has been intimidated and threatened because of this strong position and her writings. When the threats turned especially violent, she was forced to flee to El Paso without being able to notify anyone of her plans. In the US, she applied for political asylum, which she eventually received in 2013, at which point she was living in Los Angeles.
In El Paso, she wrote the prose-poem collection Estilo (2011, translated by Jen Hofer as Style in 2016). About her most recent work, 'Copia' (Copy), also made up of prose poems, she says: "Sin proceso de copia, no existe la vida o la realidad." (Without the copying process, there would be no life, no reality.) Here, copying means replicating, repeating and reproducing.
All the lines in 'Copia' follow each other. The sentences are short, sometimes consisting of only one word. In its extreme abstraction, it suggests the process of flight, disappearing from your country, removing yourself from everyday life, transitioning to a new structure – but also the act of resisting, the urge for freedom. The narrator speaking through this poetry abstracts/subtracts herself: "You, not I, are the one . . .". It is as though a third person has to be created in order to be able to tell this story. A person who also receives direction and advice on how to behave. This helps the poet to expand her narrator, turning 'Copia' into a kind of litany for all those seeking refuge.
Poemas para niños, Ediciones El Tucán de Virginia, Mexico City, 1999
Para Bernardo: un eco, MUB editoraz, Ciudad Juárez, 2000
Lola (cartas cortas), Fondo Editorial Tierra Adentro, CONACULTA, Mexico City, 2002
sexoPUROsexoVELOZ, Lapzus, Oráculo, Montevideo, 2004
Estilo, Mano Santa Editores, Guadalajara, 2011
Querida fábrica, Práctica Mortal, CONACULTA, Mexico City, 2012
sexoPUROsexoVELOZ and Septiembre, A Bilingual Edition of Books 2 and 3 of Dolores Dorantes by Dolores Dorantes (trans. Jen Hofer), Counterpath Press and Kenning Editions, Denver and Chicago, 2008
Dolores Dorantes by Dolores Dorantes, Books 1–4 (trans. Jen Hofer), Kenning Editions, Chicago, 2012
Intervenir/Intervene by Dorantes & Rodrigo Flores Sánchez, (Spanish and English edition. English translation by Jen Hofer). Ugly Duckling Presse, Brooklyn, NY, 2015
Style, (Spanish and English edition. English translation by Jen Hofer). Kenning Editions, Berkeley, 2016