A few years ago, before the pandemic, I was invited to visit a group of geoglyphs in the Sonoran Desert called the Blythe Intaglios, outside Blythe, California, along the Colorado River separating California from Arizona. These massive glyphs are scraped into the same desert whose hostility the US Border Patrol has recruited in its cynical policy of “prevention through deterrence,” creating what anthropologist Jason de León (2015) calls “the land of open graves,” insofar as border police enlist the heat, hostility, and danger of the desert to do the dirty work of migrant deterrence. This realization came to me as I was introduced to the glyphs by their local caretaker, who insisted, on the contrary, that they were signals of life, of the creation of life. They marked the location of the primordial home of the Mexica, Aztlán, whose cosmogonic caves—the caves of Chicomoztoc—were nearby in the Big...
Earthworks Rising: Mound Building in Native Literature and Arts
Edgar Garcia is a poet and scholar of the hemispheric cultures of the Americas. He is the author of Skins of Columbus: A Dream Ethnography (2019); Signs of the Americas: A Poetics of Pictography, Hieroglyphs, and Khipu (2020); and Emergency: Reading the Popol Vuh in a Time of Crisis (2022), among other works and collaborations. He is associate professor of English language and literature at the University of Chicago. In 2022–23 he is serving as guest editor in chief of Fence.
Edgar Garcia; Earthworks Rising: Mound Building in Native Literature and Arts. Genre 1 April 2023; 56 (1): 139–144. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00166928-10346899
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