Ancient American Poets


Ancient American Poets presents a survey of indigenous poetry that focuses on three Amerindian poets. Included are "The Flower Songs by Nezahualcoyotl" (Aztec), "The Songs of Dzitbalche" (Yucatec Maya), and "The Sacred Hymns of Pachacuti" (Inca), followed by a biography and commentary on the poets’ lives and times. Each poem is presented in its original language and in translation. By reading this poetry and exploring the lives of the three poets, one can visualize the indigenous world in the century before the Spanish conquest and gain a view of pre-Hispanic history radically different from its usual presentation.


The author’s interest in issues affecting indigenous people stems from his core belief that the future of the Americas is intimately tied to their indigenous past and furthermore that there are valuable lessons to be learned from these civilizations. John Curl’s study of indigenous poets’ works has the changed the way he sees the world; this book has grown out of his desire to share that vision with others.

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John Curl
Author Bio: 

John Curl is a respected poet and author of historical works who has published fiction, poetry, essays, and historical accounts in numerous magazines and periodicals during the last three decades. He has traveled widely throughout the Americas researching the folkways of indigenous people and learning their languages. His previous publications include History of Work Cooperation in America (1982), Columbus in the Bay of Pigs (1988), and Memories of Drop City (2004). He produced a docudrama, The Heights of Hungry Coyote (1982), which won the 1990 Bay Area Cable Excellence Award. He is also the editor of Red Coral, a web zine that has been active since 1999. Curl holds a B.A. in comparative literature from New York's City College (CUNY). He lives and works in Berkeley, California, as a custom woodworker and City of Berkeley planning commissioner.

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