Landsmoder, by the Salvadoran poet, historian, and performance artist Elena Salamanca, is a searing, and sometimes grotesque, exploration of the intersections between nationalism, dogma, patriarchy, and violence. Originally read aloud from the oldest standing monument in San Salvador’s centro histórico, the performance poems in Landsmoder retool the laudatory pomp of patriotic ceremony to protest the weaponization of national myth as a mask for erasure, cruelty, and neglect at the hands of the state. This unflinching collection, whose title comes from a Norwegian word that Salamanca translates as “madre de la patria” — or “mother of the nation/homeland/fatherland”— is a work of feminist grief, rage, and irony populated with churning wombs, bloodied flags, and ratteboned she-wolves. Appearing now in a bilingual edition nearly a decade after it was first performed, Landsmoder remains an urgent subversion, loud as ever, both on and off the page.
"In its unique combination of protest, performance, and translation, this book opens Salamanca’s truly monumental work to new audiences and future generations." –Diego Báez, Poetry Foundation