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How Fire Is A Story, Waiting: Poems Paperback – October 31, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 107 pages
  • Publisher: Tia Chucha Press (October 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1882688449
  • ISBN-13: 978-1882688449
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,364,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Many of Palacio's marvelous poems are like fragments of stories, snapshots and letters, dreams and memories of her often-troubled childhood's time and place. Eventually, Palacio's writing carries her away from her barrio childhood, though her experiences there assure her that she won't forget, and she remains an activist for Hispanic justice." --Albuquerque Journal

"How Fire Is a Story, Waiting is a mature and deeply stirring work, one that explores Melinda Palacio's identity as a Latina, daughter, and writer in language that is as lyrical as it is candid." - Los Angeles Review of Books

"Her vision is wide and encompassing, her voice frank and expressive, her writing is economical. She is quick to find a nerve and offer a succinct observation."
- Greg Langley, The Advocate

"Start anywhere in the book and read any poem in any order, and you'll get both a singular and, if you keep reading, a collective experience (and a powerful one at that). That's because underneath each poem is a story waiting, that builds up with each subsequent poem into a kind of lyrical photo album arranged with compassion and music and humor and soul."
Frank Mundo, Examiner


"This collection of one-of-a-kind odes to growing up in South-Central LA, elegies to a Panamanian father locked up in Folsom Prison, and personal manifestos of one woman's journey through life, continue to burn in your memory long after you've read them." --Erasmo Guerra, Cosmopolitan Latina

From the Inside Flap

"Continue to fix broken things," Melinda Palacio writes in "Ramona Street," and the poems in How Fire Is a Story, Waiting are consumed with naming the problems of the world and trying--however provisionally--to set them right.  Palacio's verse, dense with imagery, is by turns sorrowful and sardonic, and always the voice is her own.  There's a little universe in this book: enter and learn.
 
--David Starkey, Santa Barbara Poet Laureate Emeritus

More About the Author

Melinda Palacio is an award-winning poet and author from South-Central Los Angeles. She studied Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley and earned a graduate degree in the same field at UC Santa Cruz. She is a 2007 PEN USA Emerging Voices Rosenthal Fellow and an alum of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. In 2009, Bilingual Press accepted her novel manuscript, Ocotillo Dreams, for publication. That same year, she won Kulupi Press' Sense of Place 2009 competition for her poetry chapbook, Folsom Lockdown. Tia Chucha Press published first full-length poetry manuscript, How Fire Is A Story, Waiting Fall 2012. The title poem from that collection has been widely reprinted and represents the first poem she published in 2006. The book was a finalist for the Milt Kessler Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize and placed first in the International Latino Book Awards. Her poetry and fiction have been widely published and anthologized, including Latinos in Lotusland: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern California Literature, Southern Poetry Anthology IV: Louisiana, San Diego Poetry Annual New Poets of the American West: An Anthology of Eleven Western State, PALABRA, the Mas Tequila Review, Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire, Naugatuck River River, Pilgrimage Magazine, Quercus Review, ASKEW Poetry Journal, Squaw Valley Review, San Pedro River Review, El Tecolote, and Strange Cargo: An Emerging Voices Anthology.

When she lived in Chandler, Arizona, she started freelancing and writing lifestyle pieces for local newspapers and magazines. Later, when she moved to Santa Barbara, she was a staff reporter for the Goleta Valley Voice and she started writing poetry and fiction. She had the idea of working on a historical novel, based on the INS sweeps of Chandler, Arizona in 1997. However, the events of Arizona's immigration laws and SB 1070 turned her historical work, Ocotillo Dreams, into a contemporary novel. She is currently working on a new novel.


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Olivas on April 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
"How Fire Is a Story, Waiting" is a mature and deeply stirring work, one that explores Melinda Palacio's identity as a Latina, daughter, and writer in language that is as lyrical as it is candid. (Los Angeles Review of Books.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jordan Lill on November 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
Before I had the opportunity to listen to Melinda speak at my university, I knew virtually nothing about her or her work. I wanted to learn more before I went to her presentation, and, while perusing her website, I ended up gravitating towards a page that contained YouTube videos of some of her previous poetry readings. Listening to "Dancing with Zorro's Ghost" that first time was all it took for me to become completely enamored with Melinda's unique narrative style. I admire her powerful and rhythmic voice, how it captivates the diverse members of her audiences and seems to seep into their souls. Each of her poems is a poignant memory that she manages to share with us in a way that makes us feel that it is not her memory, but rather ours.

As I poured over the pages of How Fire Is a Story, Waiting (which I received a copy of and had signed by Melinda after meeting her on campus) I was struck by how consistent and precise Melinda's word choice was across the broad range of poetic forms she utilized. Every word on every page has been chosen for a specific reason, and, together, the words effectively emphasize the emotions that Melinda wants us to experience along with her. The variety in her use of line breaks and stanzas gives her work a conversational feel; she wants us to participate in her life story. It appears as if her poems get shorter and more compact the more uncomfortable or painful the memory is that she is relating; the emotion intensifies, and we, as the audience, feel as cornered and constricted as the words look on the page. When she elongates her poems, starts dividing her thoughts into stanzas and couplets, it's as if she has had time to think about or process those experiences.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Assen I Kokalov on November 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
Melinda Palacio's poetry is intimate and poignant. It skillfully mixes tales about her diverse family, the history of the US-Mexico border region, and a good amount of politics. Her Hispanic roots and the experiences of her ancestors who hail from places as different as Latin America, Africa, and Europe shape her poems. She is not afraid to pose pointed questions either asking her father why he chose to aim a gun at his own family or inquiring about Arizona's racist sweeps and roundups. Palacio's poems are imbued with the reality of those who inhabit the US Southwest and the border region where destinies are framed and decided by an arbitrary frontier that marginalizes a large swath of people by labeling them "ilegales," men, women, and children without "papers." The area's major urban centers are crucial in the text: Los Angeles' major freeways flow through the poems as vital arteries giving life to Palacio's characters who try to survive stray bullets and prison searches in an often hostile land.

The third part of How Fire Is a Story, Waiting turns its attention to another part of the United Sates dear to the poet--New Orleans. The city's struggles with race and class before and in the aftermath of Katrina take central stage. Palacio does not hesitate to add her voice in demanding a dignified rebuilding of a metropolis where jazz, oysters, and FEMA blend in their attempts to craft a new post-apocalyptic hope for its people. The final fourth segment of the collection deals with death. The somber theme is handled with an intimate introspection focusing on the death of the bard's own mother, Blanca Estela. A brave woman who led a hard life, she taught her not to fear crossing borders and frontiers--racial, political, or existential ones.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By La Reader on November 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
Wow! I am not a poetry fanatic, but when I read the first poem Fire is a story waiting I was blown away. I loved it and kept on reading. I was going to list my favorites, but it is hard to pick. I wish I was a better wordsmith to share with you how these poems made me laugh and cry. I was transported with the imagery of the words. I really recommend this book. Once you read the first poem you are hooked.
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