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The Volcano’s Children are coming to San Miguel

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grupo kuimu

By Lucina Kathmann

The writer José Revueltas wrote,“Dionisio Pulido is the only person in the world who can boast of being the proprietor of a volcano.”

On February 23, 1943, at 3pm, don Dionisio Pulido was working his field with his animals when he saw smoke coming from between the furrows. He was the proprietor of a plot of land in San Salvador K’umbutsio, Michoacán, a little town in a high, cold Purépecha (indigenous group originating in Michocán) region known for its apples and pears. After the smoke came lava, which rose from the bowels of the earth to form a new volcano, Paricutín.

In the following years, the eruption continued until it totally covered San Salvador K´umbutsio, leaving only the tower of the church in the neighboring town, San Juan Parangaricútiro. The lava field, with its incongruous majestic tower, is a tourist attraction today, as is the volcano itself.

In the months after the first eruption, when more and more houses were disappearing under a layer of lava, Lázaro Cárdenas made arrangements to move the people from San Salvador K’umbutsio to Caltzontzin, a place at the edge of the city of Uruapan. It’s an attractive community where the language of the street is still Purépecha, but the people who physically shared the life of the volcano are dying out. Soon there will be none left.

Some years ago, Agustina Pulido Chávez, a writer from Caltzontzin, also the granddaughter of don Dionisio, had the idea to ask a member of her literary group, Kuimu, to help her interview survivors and publishing their memories of the eruption of the volcano. As the book title says, they really are the children of the volcano.

The first edition was published in 2005. Since then, almost all the volcano’s children have died, and most copies of the book’s first edition have also disappeared. Grupo Kuimu has recently published a new edition. Though they had asked the people they interviewed to focus on their memories of the day of the volcano’s eruption, what came out along with those memories was a great richness of detail about everyday life of the people in that beautiful culture and time period. The book also includes a photo of every person interviewed.

In an event organized by PEN of San Miguel, Grupo Kuimu is coming to San Miguel to present the book on Saturday, July 7. Everyone is invited. It is a rare opportunity to learn about something very interesting. The event is in Spanish, but you can ask questions or offer comments in English.

 

Literature

Grupo Kuimu presents

Los Hijos del Volcán

Sat, Jul 7, 6pm

Bellas Artes

Hernández Macías 75, Centro

Free admission

For more information

lucina.kathmann@gmail.com

 

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