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Pity The Drowned Horses (The Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize) 1st Edition Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0268033743
ISBN-10: 0268033749
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Editorial Reviews


" . . . [Luna] relentlessly probes the hardscrabble lives of many . . . Latinos. . . . They're transfigured by this debut author's extraordinary lyric power." -- Library Journal, August 15, 2005

"Pity the Drowned Horses [is] a triumphant debut . . . Luna proves herself a leader among the next generation of Chicano poets." -- El Paso Times --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

"Sheryl Luna’s book PITY THE DROWNED HORSES bears witness not only to the poverty and wonder of the borderlands, to their dynamic and often tragic clash of cultural rivers, but also to an intense, tender, and unflinching sensibility refusing the easy distance of mere reportage. Rarely do we encounter a poet with such associative speed, such free access to her unconscious resources, who simultaneously reaches out with such heartbreaking clarity and sweep of vision. Here we see the moral imagination made both vulnerable and bold by its transfigurative investments, its impassioned music, its raw energy and recovering grace. A dazzling debut." —Bruce Bond

"From Sylvia Plath to popsicle-sellers in Juarez, from Mozart to maquiladoras, this stunning debut collection charts "the way of borders . . . the way things thirst. Remarkable!" —Lisa Chavez

"In PITY THE DROWNED HORSES, Sheryl Luna carves out of the El Paso landscape the music of the borderlands where loss and acceptance converge. . . . Luna exquisitely captures—like no other poet before her—the ‘unsung positive capability/ of the desert’; her syntax—sometimes raw and edgy—creates a tableau where everything rushes toward ‘our wild need, all sweat, all shiver.’ The overall effect is simply mesmerizing." —Robert Vasquez


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Product Details

  • Series: The Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize
  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press; 1st Edition edition (February 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0268033749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0268033743
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #504,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel Olivas on June 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
In one of the last poems of Pity the Drowned Horses, Sheryl Luna's richly textured debut collection, the narrator in "Las Alas" asks: "Can one return to a desolate / past, before one knew one was poor, / before the luxurious perfume?" This desperate query-which is never answered-is the fantasma that haunts every line of this book. Various identities grapple with each other seeking superiority and control: poor vs. middle class, Spanish vs. English, borderland vs. big city, atheist vs. believer, brown vs. white. In "Bullfight," this battle is a bewildering "river / that divides me, crosses me daily like the forgotten / history of my grandmother." The narrator has lost much of her ability to speak Spanish and "[e]ven the people I longed for, / la raza, forgot my face." Yet she knows that her mother, who is half Jewish, suffers this same rupture of identity: "Her own lost / heritage buried in a cemetery plot." But in "Learning to Speak," she admits that something must be done despite likely cultural humiliation: "I spoke / Spanish broken, tongue-heavy. I was once too proud / to speak Spanish in the barrio.... Quiero / aprender español, I whisper." And her would-be teacher responds without words: "He smiles." The risk is taken, and a reward received.

Luna's poems have graced the pages of some of the most prestigious literary journals published today: Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, Puerto del Sol, Kalliope, and many others. A native of El Paso who now teaches in Denver, she was a finalist for the National Poetry Series book awards and the Perugia Press Intro Award for women poets. With this collection, Luna won the first Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize sponsored by the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame; she has set the bar high, indeed, for future prize candidates. [The full review first appeared in LatinoLA.]
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