A contact bomb, a volcano ready to erupt" describes not only Central America in the 1980s but--in the conception of its editors--this anthology of contraband poetry. The poems themselves were often copied by hand and smuggled onto Mexico, from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. In all those countries, except Nicaragua, this poetry is banned. The thirty-nine poets represented here give potent voice to the struggles of their peoples under the crushing oppression of life "under the volcano" in these war-stunned lands. Many of these women and men have been jailed, exiled, killed, or otherwise made to disappear. Still they survive in these faithful and sensitive translations by a new literary underground in North America.