Juan Alvarez Pérez was born in the Tseltal paraje (village) Pinabetal, in the Municipality of Chilón, Chiapas. When he left home to pursue an education, he encountered the concept of indigenous literature and began to write poetry. For Mr. Alvarez Pérez, the literary process is a journey to a better understanding of indigenous wisdom, customs, and traditions. Literature has healing power that can soothe the pain of oppression, poverty, and colonization. Through his poetry, Alvarez Pérez explores his late grandmother’s teachings, his parents’ unspoken courtship in their youth, his neighbor’s relationship with the soil and their harvest. The work is a timeless ode to indigenous lived experiences and lifeways. Several of his poems were published in the anthology “Jich ta xk’ayin te lajelal,” edited by El Animal in 2006. In 2010, he received the III Premio Continental de Literatura en Lenguas Indígenas “Canto de América” For his poetry collection, Se ha cansado el silencio —Lubenix te ch’aben.
Audio Recordings with Juan Alvarez Pérez
- Maya Tseltal poet Juan Alvarez Pérez reading from his work, August 30, 2019.