100 Refutations: Day 23


I am, endemic and untamed, the singer of America
my lyre has a spirit, my song an idea.
My verse does not swing from branches
with the slow sway of a tropical hammock…

When I feel Inca, I pay homage
to the Sun, who in my hands places the royal center of his power;
when I feel Hispanic and recall the colonizing,
my stanzas are glass trumpets.

All my fancy from my Moorish mothers, and my Moorish fathers,
the Andes are made of silver, but the León is made of gold,
and I melt them both, with cacophonous clamor.

Spanish the blood, and Incan the pulse;
and were I not poet, perhaps then
a white adventurer or Indian emperor.


José Santos Chocano

José Santos Chocano (1875-1934) was a prolific poet and political activist considered to be a leading figure of the Latin American Modernism movement. In 1922, Chocano was recognized by the Peruvian government as poet laureate.

Lina M. Ferreira C.-V.

Lina M. Ferreira C.-V. earned MFAs in creative nonfiction writing and literary translation from The University of Iowa. She is the author of Drown Sever Sing from Anomalous Press and Don’t Come Back from Mad River Books, as well as editor, with Sarah Viren, of the forthcoming anthology Essaying the Americas. Her fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and translation work has been featured in journals including Bellingham ReviewChicago ReviewFourth GenreBrevityPoets & Writers, and The Sunday Rumpus, among others. She won Best of the Net and Iron Horse Review’s Discovered Voices Award, has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, and is a Rona Jaffe fellow. She moved from Colombia to China to Columbus, Ohio to Richmond, Virginia, where she works as an assistant professor for Virginia Commonwealth University. Visit www.linawritesessays.com.

English translation copyright (c) Lina M. Ferreira C.-V., 2018.