María Baranda from “Atlantica and the Rustic” Translated from Spanish by Lara Crystal-Ornelas

When María Baranda wrote Atlántica y el Rústico in the early 2000s, her words were inspired by an artist friend who would recount his long walks in the forest where he collected objects for his art. She’d follow these conversations by reading about the botany, minerals, and natural processes that she had heard about. Atlántica y el Rústico is poignant and otherworldly, often corporeal. María’s neologisms are words that her poems called her for, inventions to approach the desired object through a more scientific, agricultural lens.

Baranda’s poems are complex and beautiful, and my experience in translating them was much the same. As the daughter of a Mexican immigrant mother who deeply supported this collaboration, the translation of this work was a collective act of love and connection to our mother tongue.

This translation was nurtured by my late mentors C.D. Wright and Michael S. Harper who help me remember to be brave each day.

—Lara Crystal-Ornelas


Born in 1962, the Mexican poet María Baranda has been honored with prestigious literary awards in Mexico; Spain’s Francisco de Quevedo Prize for Ibero-American Poetry; Canada’s Sabines-Gatien Lapointe Prize; and the Ramón López Velarde International Poetry Prize, awarded for her career. Her many books of poetry include Narrar, Dylan y las ballenas, Avido mundo, Ficticia (translated into English by Joshua Edwards and published by Shearsman Books, 2010), Teoría de las niñas, and The New World Written: Selected Poems (edited by Paul Hoover and published by Yale University Press, 2024). Atlántica y el Rústico, translated by Lara Crystal-Ornelas, is forthcoming from SplitLevel Texts.

Lara Crystal-Ornelas was born in central New Jersey and raised between Jersey and Mexico City. She is a reproductive healthcare provider who writes and translates poetry. Selections of her translations were published in The New World Written. This is her first book of translations.