- Paperback: 88 pages
- Publisher: Copper Canyon Press; First Edition edition (September 5, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1556595115
- ISBN-13: 978-1556595110
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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About the Author
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Poet Javier Zamora was born in the small El Salvadoran coastal fishing town of La Herradura and immigrated to the United States at the age of nine, joining his parents in California. He earned a BA at the University of California-Berkeley and an MFA at New York University and is a 2016-2018 Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.
Javier’s debut UNACCOMPANIED assesses borderland politics, race, and immigration on a profoundly personal level, and simultaneously remembers and imagines a birth-country that’s been left behind. His poems cross rugged terrain where families are lost and reunited, coyotes lead migrants astray, and "the thin white man let us drink from a hose/while pointing his shotgun."
In this tenuous time of attention to immigration when so many of us yearn for the new residents of this country to find promise and a happy life instead of the constant over-the-shoulder shudder of being ‘watched’, this collection of poems by a very gifted young artist helps to shed light on both sides of the wall. Perhaps his thoughts will help tear it down permanently – or at least offer hope to those ‘in transition’. Some examples follow.
How I Learned to Walk
Calláte. Don’t say it out loud: the color of his hair,
the sour odor of his skin, the way they say
his stomach rose when he slept. I have
done nothing, said nothing. I p**s in the corner
of the room, the outhouse is far, I think
orange blossoms call me to eat them. I fling rocks
at bats hanging midway up almond trees.
I’ve skinned lizards. I’ve been bored. It’s like
that time I told my friend Luz to rub her lice
against my hair. I wanted to wear a plastic bag,
to smell of gasoline, to shave my hair, to feel
something like his hands on my head.
When I clutch pillows, I think of him. If he sleeps
facedown like I do. If he can tie strings
to the backs of dragonflies. I’ve heard
of how I used to run to him. His hair still
smelling of fish, gasoline, and seaweed. It’s how
I learned to walk they say. Calláte. If I step
out this door, I want to know nothing will take me.
Not the van he ran to. Not the man he paid to take him.
Mamá Pati was asleep when he left. People say
somehow I walked across our cornfield
at dawn, a few steps behind. I must have seen him
get in that van. I was two. I sat behind a ceiba tree,
waiting. No one could find me.
Heart wrenchingly beautiful poetry that must be read - especially now. Javier has a brilliant future. Grady Harp, September 17
I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it.