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Myriam Moscona

Born in Mexico City in 1955, of Bulgarian Sephardic descent, Myriam Moscona is a poet and journalist.

Moscona is the author of nine books, including Vísperas (Fondo de Cultura Económica, México, 1996), El que nada (ERA, México, 2006) and De par en par (Bonobos, México, 2009), which explores poetry beyond its traditional construction. Her book De frente y de perfil (DDF, México, 1996), features literary portraits of 75 Mexican poets, with photographs by Rogelio Cuéllar. Tela de sevoya (Random House Mondadori, 2012) is a hybrid narrative that weaves together memory and fiction; the backdrop to the book is Moscona's family language, Ladino, or Judeo-Spanish.

Her book-length sequence Ivory Black (Negro marfil), translated from the Spanish by Jen Hofer, received the 2012 Harold Morton Landon Award from the Academy of American Poets. When Negro marfil was conceived, Moscona focused on the use of visual materials (inks, pastels, graphite, and acrylics), which led her to explore visual poetry. In this domain, she is the maker of a variety of art objects and artist books, some of which are part of the Special Collections and Archives of the University of California at Irvine.

Moscona has received numerous awards, including the Premio de Poesía Aguascalientes and the Premio Nacional de Traducción de Poesía; she is a grantee of the Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte, and she was awarded a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation. Selections of her work have also been translated into German, Italian, French, Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, Bulgarian, Chinese and Swedish.

She currently lives in Mexico City.

By This Poet


Ivory Black [BLACK breathing BLACK at the window]

BLACK breathing BLACK at the window
The interior eye     Opposite watching's touch
In what is black white
Is by accident      The eye detaches
As it slips from itself
What is black       Like sky

In its scream        Glassed
Spins           In a straight line
Draws along     In a spiral

     Isn't it your dream to be visible?
A luster spins      Atop another
Grows           In buds
The change of season comes
In clarities                Lifts
Airborne                High and low
Like the light      In our touch
           The dark light that skies in whites
And in prayer the refrain repeats
Between nude walls                  Hangs
Window against the emanation:       Open

Ivory Black [In the white and in the soot]

    In the white and in the soot
    in the burnt senses of touch I write
    before starting the fast


    Forgiveness for what will be and the sun
        Remains upon the sun
    The calligraphic line at dawn
    Makes John uneasy
    (how I would have liked to sup with those twelve)
I hear the forgiveness in this scale
    followed by a sad adaggieto
    The harp            Rain
    The horizontal
And may derision fall upon the public square

Ivory Black [Not to speak]

            Not to speak
To see and to translate into moans    It's not pain
  To moan from birth
  Only the eye and the conquering of a tongue
  (that you wanted to say that for the slit?)


  To return toward hearing (to touch oneself) via the
  heart is heard slowly
  Is guarded like a black poem as if it were an eye
                who might rain