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Cenzontle - BOA Editions, Ltd.

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By: Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

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Regular price $17.00

About This Title

An NPR Best Book of 2018

In this highly lyrical, imagistic debut, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo creates a nuanced narrative of life before, during, and after crossing the US/Mexico border. These poems explore the emotional fallout of immigration, the illusion of the American dream via the fallacy of the nuclear family, the latent anxieties of living in a queer brown undocumented body within a heteronormative marriage, and the ongoing search for belonging. Finding solace in the resignation to sheer possibility, these poems challenge us to question the potential ways in which two people can interact, love, give birth, and mourn—sometimes all at once.

From "Cenzontle"

Because the bird flew before
there was a word
for flight

years from now
there will be a name
for what you and I are doing.


Winner of the 2019 GLCA New Writers Award in Poetry
Winner of the 2018 NCIBA Golden Poppy Book Award for Poetry

Finalist for the 2018 California Book Award for Poetry
Finalist for the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Poetry
Finalist for the 2018 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry
Finalist for the 2018 Foreword INDIES Award for Poetry

"Castillo resists resignation to silence; his poems embody a belief in art’s transformative ability. Lush musicality renders agricultural labor, corporeal punishment, and romantic difficulties beautiful. Forged in Keatsian negative capability, Castillo’s poetics often involve finding the description that will lift the painful or unjust into music." Publishers Weekly

“I know this book changed me. The book itself knows change, how to change itself, knows so well how transformation—vast essential change which would seem to oppose a self—brings a person ever closer to their truth.” —Brenda Shaughnessy, from the Foreword

“In the spirit of Whitman, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo slips in silently to lie down between the bridegroom and the bride, to inhabit many bodies and many souls, between rapture and grief. These are poems that open borders both personal and political, a map of silences and celebrations. ‘You called it cutting apart / I called it song.’” —D. A. Powell

"In this exquisite debut collection, longing twins with inheritance to consider the interiority of nationhood and the legacy of masculinity and exile. Castillo’s finely-honed poems celebrate and reveal the contours of physical and historical intimacies, a feast for the eyes and heart.” —Carmen Giménez Smith

Publication Date: April 10, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-942683-53-7


© BOA Editions, Ltd. 2018