El Corno Emplumado

magazines & Presses

El Corno Emplumado

Margaret Randall and Sergio Mondragon
Mexico City

Nos. 1–31 (1962–69).

El Corno Emplumado 22 (1967).


In 1962, Sergio Mondragon and Margaret Randall, an expatriate American in Mexico City, founded El Corno Emplumado/The Plumed Horn (“the jazz horn of the U.S. and the plumes of Quetzal-coatl”), an international magazine that in its heart intended to help heal the break between the Americas, North and South. Randall wanted to provide “a showcase (outside politics) for the fact that WE ARE ALL BROTHERS.” About this use of gender, she later commented: “We really thought we could all be brothers. (We didn’t think, then, about being sisters. We were a few women, a minority among mostly men. Our intellectual pretensions took care of that ratio—women’s consciousness was not part of us then.)” In its thirty-one issues, El Corno Emplumado introduced Latin American literature to the North, printing English translations of work by Vallejo, Neruda, and Gabriel García Márquez, among many others (a generation of new Cuban writers in issue 7, for instance). Conversely, the magazine, under the direction of coeditor Sergio Mondragon, printed translations into Spanish of work by Hart Crane, Walt Whitman, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Paul Blackburn. Increasingly political as the decade wore on, the magazine was vociferously opposed to US intervention in Vietnam and just as vociferously positive about the Cuban revolution.

El Corno Emplumado 27 (1968).

El Corno Emplumado 27 (1968).

Supported for its first seven years by various departments of the Mexican government as well as by private contributions from many Americans, the magazine was eventually harassed out of existence by the repressions of 1968–69, which culminated in the massacre of nearly a thousand students in Mexico City. In an eloquent description of her own magazine, Randall could well have been describing any number of other American little magazines of the period: “El Corno Emplumado was never just a magazine; it was never just a collection of words and images on paper, put together by two people (it was always only two people: editing, raising money, supervising the printing, handling the secretarial work and distribution). El Corno was a network—letters going back and forth between poets, between people. It was a meeting of poets like spontaneous combustion….”

“In the United States Black Mountain Review was already a classic, to be drawn upon. We saw ourselves connected in one way or another to Evergreen Review before it became slick, City Lights Journal, Trobar, George Hitchcock’s hand-wrought Kayak, Kulchur, the outer edges of Poetry, Robert Bly’s The Sixties for his concern with the great Latin voices, and many, many others. The radius included Duende in New Mexico, d.a. levy’s Renegade Press in Cleveland, Elizabeth in New Rochelle, and Leavenworth’s New Era (written and run by prisoners).”

— Margaret Randall, “El Corno Emplumado, 1961–1969: Some Notes in Retrospect, 1975,” TriQuarterly 43 (Fall 1978)

El Corno Emplumado books include

Note: some are in English, some in Spanish, and some bilingual

Bowering, George. The Man in Yellow Boots/El Hombre de las Botas Amarillas. 1965. Collages by Roy Kiyooka.

Enslin, Theodore. This Do and The Talents. 1966.

Greenberg, Alvin. The Small Waves. 1965. Drawings by Don McIntosh.

Kelly, Robert. Her Body Against Time. 1963.

Kelly, Robert. Weeks. 1966.

Kiviat, Erik. Museum of Memnon. 1966.

Lowenfels, Walter. Land of Roseberries. 1965. Drawings by David Siqueiros.

Mondragon, Sergio. Yo Soy el Otro; I Am the Other. 1965. Drawings by Arnold Belkin.

Moreno Colmenares, José. Prontuario [Compendium]. 1966.

Ossman, David. Set in a Landscape: Poems and Sequences 1960–1964. 1966. Drawings by Mowry Baden.

Randall, Margaret. October. 1965. Photographs, sculpture by Shinkichi Tajiri.

Margaret Randall, October (1965). Photographs, sculpture by Shinkichi Tajiri.

Margaret Randall, October (1965). Photographs, sculpture by Shinkichi Tajiri.

Rossi, Matti. The Trees of Vietnam. 1966. Translated from the Finnish by Anselm Hollo.

Rothenberg, Jerome. The Gorky Poems/Poemas a Gorky. 1966. Translated into Spanish by Sergio Mondragon.

Silva, Ludovico. Tenebra. 1964. Drawings by Julius Tobias.

Swaan, Silvia de. Dibujos de Vida y Muerte/Drawings of Life and Death. 1966.

Truesdale, Calvin William. In the Country of a Deer’s Eye. 1966. Drawings by Judith Gutierrez.