Unmade Hearts: My Sor Juana
What better way to introduce, or reintroduce, yourself to the lyrical divine that is Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz than to see “this 17th century Mexican nun rly sliding into [Westhale’s] DMs”? Unmade Hearts is not only a brilliantly textured and careful translation of Sor Juana’s work, but reads like love letters between Sor Juana and Westhale across centuries. These time-traveling pen pals are in conversation about love, about the Divine, and if there really is a difference between the two. Westhale expertly uses white space to give these fragments alternating breathing room and urgency. Westhale’s translation notes from the margins serve to break the fourth wall and welcome the reader into the passionate back and forth. Go and dig into this delicious reworking of Sor Juana!
—Boston Gordon, author of Glory Holes
Unmade Hearts defies description as ‘poetry collection’—better yet, it moves the benchmark of what poetry can be toward a glittering, heretofore un-glimpsed horizon. Through scorching honesty, playful wit, and the aching beauty of absolute, emotional communion—two souls performing mental yoga poses, stretched to the utmost inward toward memory and outward toward one another, simultaneously—July Westhale’s translations and marginal notes on Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz’s sonnets conjure a brilliant dialogue across desires, languages, and centuries. This is essential reading for poets, translators, and everyone who has ever tried-succeeded-failed-hoped to love and be loved.
—Pamela Petro, author of The Long Field
July Westhale © 2021