Retrospective prophecy in contemporary Maya literature: Chim Bacab's Flower of Memory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter discusses a book-length poem written bilingually by Mexican writer Pedro Pablo Chim Bacab. Entitled Lool k'ajlay in the indigenous Yucatec Maya language and Flor de la memoria in Spanish, the work translates as "Flower of Memory" in both languages and was published by the government of the Mexican state of Campeche in 2014, after winning the "Waldemar Noh Tzec" prize for Maya poetry in 2012. As Sainath Suryanarayanan and Katarzyna Beilin state, "The poet reimagines the meaning of 2012 as a year not of the Mayan end of the world, but rather the year when Mayan people regain their memory and retake their lands" (Suryanarayanan and Beilin 2020: 484). In style and content, the poem recalls the colonial-era Chilam Balam books, which were composed in various towns across the Yucatan Peninsula following the Spanish Conquest. As Paul Worley states of a similar work by Jakaltek Maya writer Victor Montejo, the "poem directly connects the Maya writer of the twenty-first century with the collective memory that has sustained Maya culture since the conquest" (Worley 2016: 10).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnticipatory Environmental (Hi)Stories
Subtitle of host publicationNarratives of Coming Nature(s) from Antiquity to the Anthropocene
EditorsChristopher Schliephake, Evi Zemanek
Place of Publication[London]
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781666921151
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2023

Publication series

NameEnvironment & Society Series
PublisherLexington Books


  • Maya poetry
  • prophecy
  • Maya literature
  • Chim Bacab
  • Flower of Memory


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