Arturo Mantecón on Literary Dialogs with Nina Serrano

Translator of “Poetry Comes Out of My Mouth” by Mario Santiago Papasquiaro

Welcome to “Literary Dialogs with Nina Serrano,” the Estuary Press video series. In each episode I dialog with a favorite author and/or translator reading from their own writings. In this first segment I talk with Arturo Mantecón, a brilliant California poet and Spanish to English translator.

Mantecón’s new book of translations, Poetry Comes Out of My Mouth: Selected Poems of Mario Santiago Papasquiaro, truly captures Santiago’s meaning and flavor. Mantecón, ever on the look-out for poets to translate from Spanish to English, has discovered Mexico City poet, Mario Santiago (his pen name) to bring to the English speaking world. The translations sing off the page and the original Spanish is right there for you to check and enjoy.

Arturo Mantecón and Nina Serrano on Literary Dialogs "Poetry Comes Out of My Mouth"

Arturo Mantecón and Nina Serrano on Literary Dialogs “Poetry Comes Out of My Mouth”

Mario Santiago Papasquiaro (1953-1998) joined forces with Chilean detective writer Roberto Bolaños, before fame and fortune hit Bolaños, when they were both young literary rebels in the 1970’s. Bolaños fans may recognize Mario Santiago as the model for the character “Ulises Lima” in “The Savage Detective.” They harassed established poets at poetry readings shouting and interrupting them with their infrarealismo (infrarealism) doctrines.

Santiago wrote down his verse on odd scraps of paper and didn’t rewrite or edit, believing instead that first thoughts are the best. His admiration for Beat poets and rebel rock and roll groups of the 1970’s and `80’s are reflected in his poems. His poetry explodes words. Santiago’s exuberance and extreme opinions and passions resonate with Mantecon’s translation which match the poet’s energy and uninhibited expression.

Mario Santiago would disappear frequently, taking off on treks in many directions including to Israel and Europe following his heart in search of love. But wherever he traveled his Mexican-ness came with him and found its way into his poems.

Arturo Mantecón provides the English reader fascinating end notes that highlight the cultural life and slang of the bohemian elements of Mexico City in Mario Santiago’s time.

Poetry Comes Out of My Mouth, Selected Poems of Mario Santiago Papasquiaro cover image. Art by Maceo Montoya

Poetry Comes Out of My Mouth, Selected Poems of Mario Santiago Papasquiaro cover image. Art by Maceo Montoya

Poetry Comes Out of My Mouth by Mario Santiago Papasquiaros as translated by Arturo Mantecón is a terrific book made even better by the expressive visual art of Chicano artist, Maceo Montoya which adorns the cover and includes nine painting illustrations inside the book. The book is published by Diágolos, (

Mantecón readings bring his translations vividly to life as you will see in this video.

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About Nina Serrano

Nina is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 84 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to or contact her publisher at For more detailed information about Nina see About Nina on her website.


Arturo Mantecón on Literary Dialogs with Nina Serrano — 1 Comment

  1. Thank you for this beautiful poetry time. I listened the program today while I was driving on 94.1 radio. I took your name and I listened again from your web page. It is such a placer to find your work and the opportunity to listen this amazing poet.
    I am from Argentina, living in San Mateo, Ca for 29 years. I am a writer and I love to learn and to listen to literature and all type of writing in general.
    Thank you so much for what you do.

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