Lonita Cook reviews Xanath Cáraza’s Conjuro
A few weeks ago I had the privilege to profile Xánath in this interview for the Letras Latinas blog in which she discussed her early literary influences, growing up in Veracruz, Mexico –the land of bondage for the rebel Yanga—the influence of poet Louis Reyes Rivera on her poetry and a sneak peek into her newly released first book-length collection of poems Conjuro (Mammoth Publications). Of Conjuro, this is what Lonita Cook had to say:
“‘Conjuro,’ is an educational text about living within the words, a spirit dancing as if by a voodoo call and existing as the flesh -- the terrain from which the language springs. In the 135 pages of poems, Caraza creates a scope, a space for movement as well as the instrument by which the movement is viewed.
The work is deeply feminine, traveling within hips and hands through thought and time, and because of it. Woman is color; memory is color; legacy is color.”
Solid Quarter reviews Lucas de Lima’s GHOSTLINES
Born in Brazil and raised across the Americas, Lucas de Lima is a contributor to the multi-author blog Montevidayo.com and the author of the chapbook GHOSTLINES (radioactivemoat, 2012), an excerpt from that chapbook is currently featured at Culturestrike.
De Lima writes in GHOSTLINES “These poems mythify the alligator attack that killed my dearest friend in 2006. To write this book—to inscribe myself into its bloodstained ecology—I have to become a bird.” What does myth do to Ana Maria—the “dear friend” in these poems—what does it do to the speaker, to the alligator? In these transfigurations of man and woman, of bird and reptile the reader finds herself lost in a narrative that challenges the ways in which we conceive of our bodies and our relationship to those with the power to conceive the myths that transfix the bodily conditions of others.
Here is what Solid Quarter has to say:
I read Lucas De Lima's GHOSTLINES again evacuated from New Orleans while Hurricane Isaac made landfall and while the anniversary of Katrina on August 29th made specters of us all.
I watched people in Plaquemines Parish being cut from their roofs as the water rose and trapped them. All time folds again and again. Water wants what it wants, and like any thing other than us: we can only imagine. The photo below was sent to me; this is someone's backyard made wild again. We live edged in and believe in borders that keep known from unknown, safe from danger. De Lima tells us that the poems in GHOSTLINES "mythify the alligator attack that killed my dearest friend in 2006."
What is a myth? What does it mean to make myths in this present splendor of reason and science? Isn't nature always making myths of us all?
Rigoberto González reviews Joy Castro’s Island of Bones
Joy Castro is an associate professor at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln and the author of The Truth Book: A Memoir (Arcade, 2005), the novel Hell or High Water (St. Martin's/Thomas Dunne, 2012. Her most recent is Island of Bones (University of Nebraska Press, 2012), and which was recentely profiled in an interview by Latino/a Poetry Now featured poet, Rigoberto González for Critical Mass. Rigoberto González is slated to read—along with Xochiquetzal Candelari and Lorena Duarte—on October 10 at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Here is what Rigoberto González had to say:
Castro concludes: "For me, all the myths have come undone. I don't fit. I don't fit, and that's okay, and that's where I write from: that jagged, smashed place of edges and fragments, and grief, of feeling lost, of perilous freedoms." That disorientation is called the human condition; Castro's willingness to find her own path through writing (instead of remaining lost in history, memory and identity) is called a saving grace.
The essays in "Island of Bones" piece together an inspiring journey that challenges assumptions, statistics and long-held beliefs that shape the "public narrative" of a U.S. Latina. Indeed, through lives like Castro's, the public narrative expands to include stories of strength, perseverance and, apropos of the author's name, joy.