AGUAS/WATERS by Miguel Avero translated by Jona Colson



Miguel Avero

(translated by Jona Colson)

Washington Writers’ Publishing House


ISBN: 978-1-941551-39-4 AVAILABLE at our site here!

As a Spanish speaker, I have to say that I’m a little more discerning in my reviews of works translated from the Spanish language. Often, a poem that sounds beautiful and lyrical in Spanish won’t have the same impact in English. This isn’t the case with Aguas/Waters, prolific Uruguayan writer Miguel Avero’s English debut, deftly translated by Jona Colson….I frequently found myself immersed in the color palette of the book; the blues and greys present in nearly every poem cast a surreal, dreamlike quality over the collection as a whole, like floating underwater just beneath the surface. There’s a light that’s slightly out of reach and a void of the unknown creeping ominously from below.” — Pepper Cunningham, MAYDAY review. Read the entire review here. 

“Aguas/Waters, which will be published on May 16… places Avero’s original poems next to Colson’s translations, which are stunning in their ability to bring the melody and magical realism of Avero’s Uruguayan Spanish into coherent English-language poems…” — Ella Feldman feature interview with Miguel Avero and Jona Colson in The Washington City Paper. Read the entire feature here.

The Washington Writers’ Publishing House will publish our first-ever translation with Aguas/Waters by Miguel Avero, translated by Jona Colson on May 16, 2024, representing a major expansion of the regional press’s mission to include works in translation from cultures/languages that have significant representation in the Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. The Washington Writers’ Publishing House has committed to publishing a biennial translation collection from a DMV translator going forward—global writers translated by our regional translators.

“Miguel Avero’s poems demonstrate linguistic experimentation and music, which is infused in both the original and the translation. Aguas/Waters by Avero helps make sense of life and the self, highlighting the tradition of magical realism, and this translation will bring this important author to readers in the DMV and in the nation,” notes Jona Colson, author ofSaid Through Glass and co-president of the Washington Writers’ Publishing House. Partial funding from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities has made this project possible.

Miguel Avero, author of Aguas/Waters, is a prolific contemporary writer in Uruguay. Uruguay is the smallest Spanish-speaking country in South America and is often overlooked for its literary significance. Uruguayan poetry is difficult to find in translation, and his work carries themes that include his love for his motherland, civil war, and political corruption. Avero’s poems elevate impressions of the everyday into something that we can only know through language and image.


Agua en la mañana alquitranada

o en la noche que cubre

de cartones el amanecer.

Agua en los tejados anidando.


Water in the tar-dark morning

or at night where the cardboard boxes

block the sunrise.

Water nesting on rooftops.

Miguel Avero, born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1984, is a poet, narrator, essayist, teacher, and researcher. Co-founder of Orientacion Poesia and On the Path of Dogs. He directs the writing workshop “Puerta Quimera.” He has published several poetry collections including Arca de aserrin (Ediciones en blanco; 2011; republished in 2021 by Ediciones del Demiurgo), the nouvelle Michaela Moon (Travesia Ediciones, 2014; republished in 2015.) In 2016, Avero published the books Let Nobody Ask About You (Bestial Barracuda Babilonica, poetic prose) and La Pieza (Walkie Talkie Ediciones, poetry). He won the first Espacio Mixtura poetry prize with the book Libreta insomne (Editorial Primero de Mayo, 2019). In 2020, he published Haiku mate (Ediciones del Demiurgo, poetry) co-authored with the Minuan Poet Leonardo de Leon. In 2022, Prosperidad, a hybrid text of poetry, essays, and memoirs, was released by Ginko Ediroia. Recently, his book of short stories Michaela Moon y otros tentativas (2023) was published by Ginko Ediroia. Avero’s work has been translated into English and French. Aguas/Waters translated by Jona Colson is his first collection in English. He lives in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Jona Colson is an educator and poet. He graduated from Goucher College with a double Bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish and earned his MFA from American University and a Master’s in Literature/Linguistics from George Mason University. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Ploughshares, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. In addition to writing his own poetry, he also translates the Spanish language poetry of Miguel Avero from Montevideo, Uruguay. His translations can be found in Prairie Schooner, Tupelo Quarterly, and Palabras Errantes. He is currently a professor at Montgomery College in Maryland where he teaches English as a Second Language. He lives in the Dupont Circle area of Washington, DC.  

Gaithersburg Book Festival – May 18 – Jona Colson

Politics and Prose (Connecticut Avenue Store) – Friday, July 12 at 7 pm with Miguel Avero and Jona Colson

-The Ivy Bookshop (Baltimore) -for a Uruguayan-inspired Happy Hour and reception with Miguel Avero and Jona Colson -Sunday, July 13 from 5-7 pm

Writer’s Center in Bethesda on Sunday, July 14 at 4 p with Miguel Avero and Jona Colson

All free and open to the public!

Washington Writers’ Publishing House is a non-profit (501c3), cooperative literary press in continuous operation since 1975. The press sponsors three annual competitions for writers living in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. The winners of each category (one in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction) comprise our annual slate. In 2021, WWPH launched an online literary journal, WWPH WRITES, to expand our mission to further the creative work of new and established writers in our region. The press will celebrate its 50th anniversary year in 2025.