A collection of poetry by one of the greatest Indigenous poets of the Americas about the vanished world of his childhood — that of the Maya K’iche’.
Aquí era el paraíso / Here Was Paradise is a selection of poems written by the great Maya poet Humberto Ak’abal. They evoke his childhood in and around the Maya K’iche’ village of Momostenango, Guatemala, and also describe his own role as a poet of the place.
Ak’abal writes about children, and grandfathers, and mothers, and animals, and ghosts, and thwarted love, and fields, and rains, and poetry, and poverty, and death.
The poetry was written for adults but can also be read and loved by young people, especially in this collection, beautifully illustrated by award-winning Guatemalan-American illustrator Amelia Lau Carling.
Ak’abal is famous worldwide as one of the great contemporary poets in the Spanish language, and one of the greatest Indigenous poets of the Americas. Ak’abal first composed his poems in K’iche’ in his mind before writing them down in Spanish.
Key Text Features
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.
Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.
Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.