Josué Andrés Moz

introduced by willy palomo

Born in Mejicanos, San Salvador in October of 1994, Josué Andrés Moz may be the youngest Salvadoran poet of note to date. Currently, he is a student of literature at la Universidad de El Salvador. He has published poems in an array of literary magazines and anthologies within and outside of El Salvador. In 2017, he published his chapbook Carcoma with Editorial La Chifurnia, and in 2018, he followed that up with Pesebre, another collection written under the pseudonym Raúl Padilla Fernández published by the same press. He is on the coordinating committee for Festival Internacional de Poesía Amada Libertad. He has participated in La Festival Internacional de Poesía of Aguacatán in Guatemala and in the Edilberto Cardona Bulnes Conference of Central American Writers in Honduras.

Locally in San Salvador, you can catch him at Los Tacos de Paco Open Mic or coordinating Los Heraldos Negros. Named after César Vallejo’s iconic poetry collection, Los Heraldos Negros is a monthly poetry reading that strives to bring together poets of different generations and aesthetics to share their work and discuss literature. If you are looking for a rare, out-of-print book in El Salvador, there is no need to scour the scattered book stands en los callejones, searching for a copy. Call Moz. In the past years, he has gained notoriety for his ability to track down rare texts and deliver them to book stores and bibliophiles who have been searching for them for years. He has been so successful as a local librotraficante that the job serves as one of his major sources of income.

To read these poems by Moz is to hold the hot coals of love and despair in the tender of your palm. In Crack, for example, Moz captures the violence and longing of San Salvadoran nightlife in a voice of ecstatic delirium. Moz writes,

I love this knowing wound and the whip-scarred dawn
open gas stations & stuttering concerts,
chest-thumping men with nothing to lose,
street corner caresses, coins abandoned in puddles,
policemen lost in themselves,
women who wring their pain dry as a lemon.

To read these poems by Moz is to see your reflection in a puddle of blood; is to find salvation in the pits of darkness. “I want everything your sadness has to give me:/ …this need/ to arrive at love with broken legs,” Moz tells us in The Ram’s Lament, an unnerving love poem made of equal parts nostalgia and epiphany.

In reading Moz’s poems, you will notice his intense attention to rhythm, image, and metaphor. I leave each poem with the impression that Moz is trying to write the greatest poem ever written. Which makes it all the more heartbreaking when in The Ram’s Lament, he confesses, “This hurt won’t make the papers. It won’t be worthy of compassion or of a great poem.”

To read poems by Moz is to feel the hand of the unsayable on your shoulder, is to glimpse its shadowy fingers.