Written from thirteen years of journals, psychic and earthly, this poetry maps an uprising of a borderland indigenous woman battling forces of racism and sexual violence against Native women and children. This lyric collection breaks new ground, skillfully revealing an unseen narrative of resistance on the Mexico–U.S. border. A powerful blend of the oral and long poem, and speaking into the realm of global movements, these poems explore environmental injustice, sexualized violence, and indigenous women’s lives.
These complex and necessary themes are at the heart of award-winning poet Margo Tamez’s second book of poetry. Her poems bring forth experiences of a raced and gendered life along the border. Tamez engages the experiences of an indigenous life, refusing labels of Mexican or Native American as social constructs of a colonized people. This book is a challenging cartography of colonialism, poverty, and issues of Native identity and demonstrates these as threats to the environment, both ecological and social, in the borderlands. Each poem is crafted as if it were a minute prayer, dense with compassion and unerring optimism.
But the hope that Tamez serves is not blind. In poem after poem, she draws us into a space ruled by mythic symbolism and the ebb and flow of the landscape—a place where comfort is compromised and where we must work to relearn the nature of existence and the value of life.
About the Author
Margo Tamez is the recipient of a Poetry Fellowship from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and a First Place Literary Award from the Frontera Literary Review. She is of Jumano and Lipan Apache as well as Spanish Land Grant ancestry of South Texas and currently lives in Pullman, Washington.
“Some poetry falls readily into categories and schools, but there isn’t yet a poetics to confine Tamez. . . . She is bold and forthright as she maps this world. Her topics range from brutality against women to tender lust, from industrial pollution to hopes for children, but her subject is consistent: the effect of marginalization on people, places, and the planet.”—Booklist
“They say that women at war pose the most serious threat, and so it is that Margo Tamez’s call to battle both instills fear and thrills us.”—Heid E. Erdrich
“This collection looks with unblinking candor at harsh encounters, warns of the duplicities inherent in our existence—the poisoning of our ‘medicine’ foods by DDT and uranium, the flesh betrayal of relatives, and the struggle to make language bear meaning. Tamez’s own language evades static, simple realities, and thereby succeeds.”—Kimberly Blaeser
“Margo Tamez’s new collection of poems is anarchic, throbs with weather, colors and quotations of a brave life that is not yours—there is phantom-like music in these poems that reminds me of the eerie sedations of a long night of 78rpms. This is brilliant work that strikes out at many of the complacent pieties of our age and art.”—Norman Dubie