Poetry & Prose

Indigenous Mesoamerican poetry forms intersect with song, but we are assembling a page here with links to poetry and literature for those who might wish to develop curriculum and teach them as literary forms, whether prehispanic, colonial, or modern.  These are highly developed arts, replete with metaphors and symbolism, and they connect to so many additional aspects of the culture, such as religion.

Pre-Columbian Nahua (or Aztec) Poetry and Mythology

Pre-Columbian Maya Poetry

 Mixtec History, Legends, and Poetry

  • Maarten Jansen, “The Search for History in Mixtec Codices,” Ancient Mesoamerica 1 (1990), 99-112 (Google this for a free downloadable PDF)
  • John Monaghan, “The Feathered Serpent in Oaxaca: An Approach to the Study of the Mixtec Codices,” Expedition 31:1 (PDF hosted by the Penn State Museum)
  • Thomas J. Ibach, “The Man Born of a Tree: A Mixtec Origin Myth,” 2013 (Google this for a free downloadable PDF)
  • Mosaic Disk with a Mythological and Historical Scene,” Mixtec, ca. 1400–1500 C.E., image and analysis, Art Institute of Chicago
  • Creation-Story of the Mixtecs,” hosted by Missouri State University
  • El origin del pueblo mixteco,” Mixtec Language and Culture site from San Diego State University (in Spanish)
  • Memories: Ta nsikuino ini,” a poem in Mixtec with a Spanish translation, also part of the Mixtec Language and Culture site from San Diego State University

Zapotec Legends

Contemporary Zapotec Poetry