In the Courtyard of the Moon

Trade Paper – $19.95

ISBN 978-1-882688-59-3
Publication Date
April 2021
Page Count
180 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

In the Courtyard of the Moon

Selected Poems
Humberto Ak’abal; Translated from the K’iché by the author, Introduction and translation from the Spanish by Miguel Rivera

Born from dreams, from stones that speak, from ordinary words (found not in the dictionaries but in the marketplaces), from the wrinkles of a grandmother’s face, from the laughter of the rain, the poems of Humberto Ak’abal bring us to a different way of listening to the world.
With a simple and direct touch, Ak’abal—writing in Maya K’iché—gathers the beauty, pain, sadness, and anger that is felt in contemporary Guatemala. His poetry, presented here in Spanish and English, also provides a bridge across a cultural divide that has plagued the Americas since the conquest, giving Indigenous peoples, who have lived in the shadows for centuries, a voice.
Although there have been Indígenas writing in Spanish since the colonial era, receiving little attention until the past few decades, they remain largely unknown in English-speaking North American and European cultures. In the Courtyard of the Moon makes a profound contribution to correcting this injustice for scholars and lovers of poetry anywhere.

About the Author

HUMBERTO AK’ABAL (1952–2019) was born in the village of Momostenango, Totonicapán, Guatemala. His second book, Guardián de la caída de agua, was nominated as Book of the Year and awarded with the Quetzal de Oro in 1993 by the Guatemalan Association of Journalists. He also received the Blaise Cendrars International Poetry Award in 1997 given by the Cultural Department of the City of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and in 1998 the Canto de América Prize in Indigenous Literatures given by the Association of Writers in Indigenous Languages in Mexico City. In 2004 Ak’abal received the Pier Paolo Pasolini International Poetry Award and in 2005 a Chevalier d’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. In 2006, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.


"Writers like Ak’abal . . . require us to penetrate into that other reality that we do not know, understand that this culture, that this indigenous soul lives and breathes in our own reality at the same time as our time, with the same life as our life, loving and understanding the same continent that we love but do not understand." —Carlos Montemayor, winner of the José Fuentes Mares National Prize for Literature