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A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying (Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize) Paperback – February 15, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The Spanish word for “tongue,” lengua, can be used literally to mean language. Between these complementary senses of the word, Guerrero’s poems locate the life-giving power of verbal expression in the mouths of disenfranchised speakers. Winner of the Andrés Montoya Prize, awarded to first books by Latino and Latina poets, Guerrero finds multifarious forms, images, and metaphors for tongue, be it the literal beef dish, or, figuratively, the cold sweat of a child’s fevered sleep. Elegant multiplicity of meanings unfold, as when a dead calf and the many fathers of a mother’s children complicate notions of husbandry. Centered as it is around hard-working women, Guerrero’s collection resists definition by class and color, even sex. For when she writes of womanhood, the variables of motherhood and marital status force us to see her speakers in their most vulnerable light. Yet these verses of germination and carrying, of labor and production, deliver us to a place of potent ferocity, expressed in multilingual cries, embodied by the wide, red lips of earthenware vessels, and through eyes that refuse to back down. --Diego Báez


"Guerrero’s poems weave in and out of light and shadow, good and evil, the sublime and the sorrowful, creating a tapestry that is wholly Texas. . . . A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying evokes the mysteries of a people―Mexicans and Texas Mexicans alike―who have the power to astonish with their fortitude, or disillusion with their inexperience; the beauty of Guerrero’s collection is its ability to do both so fluidly. ―Texas Books in Review

"Guerrero has always written pointedly with a sharp pen and a sharp knife always at the ready. In her first full-length collection, these dazzling, edgy, irascible poems lean into their sweet natural bristling air, stitching and stretching image to image. This is the singing blue glory of language at its best." (Nikky Finney, author of Head Off & Split, winner of The National Book Award)

Product details

  • Publisher : University of Notre Dame Press; 1st edition (February 15, 2013)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 66 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0268010471
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0268010478
  • Item Weight : 5.4 ounces
  • Dimensions : 9.08 x 6.04 x 0.23 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 18 ratings

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