Miguel Maldonado

Review

Miguel Maldonado receives the Joaquín Xirau Poetry Prize

02/08/2018

The poet Miguel Maldonado (Puebla, 1975) has received the Joaquín Xirau Poetry Prize for his poetry collection “El libro de los oficios tristes”, in a ceremony held in the Colegio de México, which was attended by the philosopher Ramón Xirau and his wife Ana María Icaza, creators of the prize which honors the memory of their son Joaquín, born in 1950 and deceased in Boston in 1976. The prize is awarded, at different times, for poetry and for economics, the two branches of Joaquín Xirau's lifework. On this occasion the jury consisted of the writers Adolfo Castañon and Juan Villoro, who noted in their speeches that “El libro de los oficios tristes” (Ediciones Monte Carmelo) tells of those professions invisible to us such as those of dishwasher, sign-painter, wearer of a mascot-costume or construction worker. Miguel Maldonado, who, in addition to being a poet, is president of the Consejo de Ciencia y Tecnología de Puebla, pointed out that the general subject of the book “is the division of labor”, and underlined that “modernity and so-called post-modernity have multiplied badly-paid and alienating jobs, have created a false evaluation of jobs where some are better than others according to the title or the length of the words describing the post”. We live, he added, in “a society which discriminates against people because of their work, treats them with contempt by giving them the dirty jobs to do, of course there is nothing dirty about them, what is really dirty is that nation-states subject the underclasses and migrants to segregation, exploitation and discrimination. Mexico, our country which in former decades was an inclusive nation for the underclasses and migrants, is now far from being like that: we treat migrants the same way that the nations to our north treat our fellow-citizens, with some obvious laudable exceptions”. The ceremony was also attended by the federal Secretary of Culture, Rafael Tovar y de Teresa, the president of the Fundación para las Letras Mexicanas, Miguel Limón, and the general secretary of Colmex, Gustavo Vega.