Korinna Alvarez reviews Rigoberto González’s The Mariposa Club (Alyson Books, 2009).
Rigoberto González’s The Mariposa Club is currently reviewed at the Mixed Up Pollack. A work of juvenile fiction, The Mariposa Club, explores what is like to grow up a teenage queer in a community that refuses to accept and fears what it does not want to understand. Through the lens of “Fierce Foursome”— Maui, Trini, Lib and Isaac—the author paints for us a portrait of the courage of these “mariposas” to assert themselves in a society that refuses to accept anything that diverges from the norm. Rigoberto González—along with Lorena Duarte and Xochiqutzal Candelaria—will also be reading in installment three of Latino/a Poetry Now at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota on October 10, 2012
Here is what Korinna Alvarez had to say:
“At Caliente Valley High School, there isn’t much room to be different. Actually, in the entire city of Caliente Valley, the people do not seem too eager to change their ways like the rest of the world seems to be doing. This is why the Fierce Foursome—Maui, Trini, Lib and Isaac—find their way to express themselves in a variety of different ways. Rigoberto Gonzalez takes a deep look into what it’s like to be gay and seventeen in a community where this lifestyle is not easily accepted. Gonzalez shows how even though all four teens are gay and best friends, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going through the same hardships. The Fierce Foursome is a group of four boys with completely different personalities, yet who share the same understanding of their sexual preference and how their city views them.”
Aracelis Girmay’s Kingdom Animalia (Boa, 2011) reviewed in The Minnesota Review’s Creative Writing Blog
National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and Inaugural Latino/a Poetry Now featured poet, Aracelis Girmay’s latest collection of poems, (winner of the Isabella Gardner Award) Kingdom Animalia is one of those few books that make me want to read its poems out loud. Her poems make me fall in love again with the act of writing and remind me why I became a writer myself. Don’t believe me? Read the following review…
From the Minnesota Review’s Creative Writing Blog;
“I am always looking for a poem to make me sigh, close my eyes, and whisper, “damn!” Kingdom Animalia earned 48 “damns!” for 48 poems; 53 if you count the five I said after I finished the collection.
Because “damn, damn, damn damn damn!” is all there is to say when you find a poet whose poems you’ve been waiting your whole life to read.”
K. Marrot reviews Richard Blanco’s Looking for The Gulf Motel (University of Pittsburg Press, 2012)
K. Marrot of Quarterly West reviews Richard Blanco’s newest collection of poems Looking for the Gulf Motel. Of the poems in this collection Rigoberto González said:[the poems] are bittersweet songs that ache with the ‘sweet and slow honey of a bolero.’ They croon about journeys from Cuba and Spain to Florida and Maine; mourn languages, lovers, and names that were or could have been.” Blanco’s latest work is a collection of highly crafted poems that offer a compelling meditation on how one family’s legacy has shaped and continues to shape a poet’s Latino identity, sexual identity and his understanding of the issues that make of life a rich and complex experience.
Here is what K. Marrot had to say:
I volunteered to review Richard Blanco’s latest work because I was familiar with his first collection, City of a Hundred Fires (1998). Though more than a decade has passed since I first read Blanco’s work, I’m happy to report that reading his new poems in a time so drastically different than those pre-9/11, halcyon days still evokes questions about identity as only Blanco can—impressively.
Blanco’s newest bundle, Looking for The Gulf Motel, marries memory, experience, and sometimes regret with “a pork roast reeking garlic” and “a pot of arroz-con-pollo.” I’m pleased to find that Blanco still creates characters whose memories are revealed as the inheritance of a first-person speaker. Blanco’s language, syntax, and characteristic form haven’t changed much; he deftly strings emotion and memory together like a Liguus shell necklace—like ornaments collected across the time line of a boy’s life. To his credit, Blanco’s crafty beachside memento needn’t fear TSA tussling during its return trip. No, his work isn’t fragile; it endures, conjures, and procures—that’s why I’m reading him again some fourteen years later.