Zarigueya Press

 
 


Zarigueya is the Spanish word for possum, a marsupial much maligned for its appetites as a scavenger, its rat-like tail, and its nocturnal habits. With their sharp noses, teeth, and claws, urban possums are commonly regarded as pests.

We take a different view.

Like most marsupials, possums are wonderful mothers, carrying their babies inside the pouch until they develop fully, then continuing to carry the young on their backs.  They respond creatively to the challenges of life in a corrupted world, nesting in dead trees, woodpiles, garages, and attics full of old trunks and albums, making a home in the cast-offs of human memory. They are intelligent, resourceful creatures whose adaptability enables them to clean up at least a few of the messes people leave. They are peaceful and non-confrontational…. unless you cross them.

Obviously, not all possums (and not all poets we admire) are female. Zarigueya Press, however, exists to celebrate important and often under-appreciated voices. Just as urban wildlife enriches a community in sometimes invisible ways, many women poets create honest, beautiful, and essential work while placing the demands of the marketplace second to full lives and nurturance of others. We at Zarigueya believe in the importance of writing from rich and varied lives; we don’t find it hard to identify with Walt Kelly’s famous character, Pogo Possum, a thoughtful, humane, and unassuming everyman doing his best to navigate the pitfalls of swamp society.

Which brings us back to the epigraph above, in which we changed only one key word: originally, it did not say, “ a person must be himself,” but rather “a possum must be himself….” Though his medium was cartooning, Pogo’s creator (1913-1973) was a writer so inventive he has been likened to James Joyce and Lewis Carroll. Kelly’s genius lay in the fact that his characters (possum, turtle, alligator, owl, porkypine and company) held a pellucid mirror up to human nature in all its profundity and pettiness: “Great question(s)” like Who are we and how did we get here? rush out in the same breath as Why don’t you want a pickle with your sandwich?


The editorial perspective of Zarigueya Press is very much engaged with resourcefulness, asking the truest questions, unlocking the secrets of human identities and relationships through honest speech, and both challenging and honoring the crazy, hectic ride of contemporary life. We celebrate imagination, the bonds between people fostered by language, and the welcome intrusions of nature into our lives. 


(P.S. We also believe, as Pogo says, “People gotta stop being bums.”)


 


A [person] must be himself, and being himself he must be honest….. The great question in the greatest quiz show of all remains, “Who are you?”

The great answer is… a secret honest speech unlocks from the heart ...

                                                                        -- Walt Kelly

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