Elsa Cross

[Born: 1946, Mexico City]. She received her literary training in the workshop of Juan José Arreola in 1964. At the same time, she began her philosophy degree at the College of Philosophy and Literature at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), where she obtained master's and doctorate degrees in Philosophy, and where she holds a professorship in Philosophy of Religion.

         Her Collected Poems were published as Poesía completa (1964-2012) by Fondo de Cultura Económica in 2012. Six of the twenty-nine included titles received awards in Mexico and other countries. During the last years she published in Mexico: Bomarzo(2009), Nadir (2010), Escalas (2012), Atrapasueños (2014), Insomnio (2016) and Nepantla (2019). In other countries she published: Selected Poems (Exeter, UK, 2009), Jaguar et autres poèmes (Paris, 2009), Botgach [Baniano] (Calcutta, 2012), Naxos (Rio de Janeiro, 2014), Más rojo bajo el sol (Madrid, 2015), Beyond the Sea (Bristol, UK 2016), and Amorgo´s Notebook (Bristol UK, 2018). In 2019, Bomarzo was published both in Rome and Bristol, UK. Her poetry has been included in over a hundred poetry anthologies in North and South America, Europe, and Asia.

         She published the essay books La realidad transfigurada. En torno a las ideas del joven Nietzsche (1985), Los dos jardines. Mística y erotismo en algunos poetas mexicanos (2003), “El arte de la India” in the book collection Raíces míticas y rituales de la estética y las artes escénicas en India, Grecia y México (2006), Acuario. Essays on Poetry (2016), and Puerta del Este. Ensayos sobre mito, arte y pensamiento de la India (2019), as well as many short scholarly papers in academic compilations and reviews.

        She has also published poems and short stories for children. Another activity of hers has been poetry translation, from English and French into Spanish. Her translation of Inanna. Queen of Heaven and Earth, after the version of Samuel Noah Kramer and Diane Wolkstein, a series of poems about the Sumerian goddess Inanna, was adapted and theatrically staged by Lorena Maza (2012), in Mexico City.

         In 2015 she presented poems in Topographies. Dialogue entre poésie et peinture, a joint exhibition with the late Mexican painter Teresa Rubio (1960-2020). It was held in October and November 2015 at the Cloître des Cordeliers in Paris, sponsored by UNAM the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Sorbonne University.

         Among the many awards she has received, are the Premio Nacional de Poesía Aguascalientes (Aguascalientes National Poetry Award) in 1989. The Premio Interamericano de Poesía Jaime Sabines (Jaime Sabines Inter-Americas Poetry Award) in 1992. The Premio de Poesía Jaime Sabines/Gatien Lapointe (Jaime Sabines/Gatien Lapointe Poetry Award) in Quebec, Canada in 2007. The Premio Xavier Villaurrutia (Xavier Villaurrutia Award) in 2007. The Premio Universidad Nacional, por creación artística y extensión de la cultura (National University Award for Artistic Creation and Cultural Outreach) in 2009. The Premio Roger Caillois para autores latinoamericanos (Roger Caillois Prize for Latin American Authors) in Paris in 2010. The Medalla Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Medal) in Mexico, 2012. The Premio Poestate (Poestate Award) in Lugano, Switzerland in 2015. The Premio Nacional de Artes y Literatura, en la rama de Lingüística y Literatura (National Arts and Literature Award - Linguistics and Literature Category), which is the highest literary distinction awarded in Mexico. And the Premio Iberoamericano de Poesía Ramón López Velarde (Ibero-American Poetry Prize Ramón López Velarde) in 2019.

          Since 1984, she has been a professor at UNAM. She teaches in several consecutive semesters an introduction course to the Philosophy of India, and another one to the Mystery Cults of the Ancient World. For several years she gave a seminar on Comparative Mythology. In other places she has taught courses on poetics, and workshops on poetry, and poetry translation.

         She has had residency scholarships, among others, from the: International Writing Program at the University of Iowa (1981), the French Ministry of Culture, Diréction du livre et de la lécture (Paris, 1994), and from the Waves of Three Seas / UNESCO (Rhodes, Greece, 2000), to do creative work and translation. Also in Rhodes (2007), she was invited by the University of the Aegean to be a guest scholar in order to do research on the ancient mystery cults in Greece.

[Translation: Denissa Greenwood]