Mara Pastor’s “Deuda Natal/Natal Debt”—2020 Ambroggio Prize Winner

Last September, Puerto Rican poet, editor and scholar Mara Pastor won the 2020 Ambroggio Prize for her book-length poetry manuscript Deuda Natal/Natal Debt. Her book will be published this year by the University of Arizona Press.

[. . .] Beginning this year, recipients of the Academy of American Poets’ Ambroggio Prize will have their winning manuscript published in Spanish with the English translation by Press. The Ambroggio Prize is a $1,000 publication award given for a book-length poetry manuscript originally written in Spanish with an English translation.

MARA PASTOR‘s Deuda Natal / Natal Debt, co-translated by MARÍA JOSÉ GIMÉNEZ and ANNA ROSENWONG, has won the AMBROGGIO PRIZE, which is a $1,000 publication prize given for a book-length poetry manuscript originally written in Spanish and with an English translation. The winning manuscript is published by the University of Arizona Press, a nationally recognized publisher of award-winning works of emerging and established voices in Latinx and Indigenous literature, as well as groundbreaking scholarship in Latinx and Indigenous studies. Established in 2017, the Ambroggio Prize is the only annual award of its kind in the United States that honors American poets whose first language is Spanish. This year’s judge was Pablo F. Medina.

Mara Pastor is a leading Puerto Rican poet, editor, and scholar. She has authored six full-length poetry books in Spanish as well as the bilingual chapbooks As Though the Wound Had Heard (Cardboard House Press, 2017), translated by María José Giménez, and Children of Another Hour (Argos Books, 2014), translated by Noel Black. Her latest book, Natal Debt, translated by María José Giménez and Anna Rosenwong, was selected for the 2020 Ambroggio Prize and is forthcoming from The University of Arizona Press in 2021. Her work has appeared in journals such as The Puerto Rico ReviewThe CommonThe OffingConnotation PressLatin American Literature Today and Seedings. She is an Associate Professor of Spanish at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce. [. . .]

About Pastor’s winning manuscript, judge Pablo F. Medina said: “Deuda natal/Natal Debt is a book of extraordinary simplicity and depth. It searches and (re)searches many truths and finds them, not in absolute values, but in the objects and acts of daily life: the home, romantic and maternal love, the roads that lead to the sea, and the comings and goings of migration, a world many of us inhabit. Natal Debt is a book for everyone, those who come, those who go, and those who stay.” [. . .]


[Photo above by Joelly Rodríguez.]

You may also read an article in Spanish (subscription necessary) in El Nuevo Día:

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