Gracias: New Poems (Paperback)

Gracias: New Poems By Alma Luz Villanueva Cover Image

Gracias: New Poems (Paperback)


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A journey into the heart of Mexico and a coming home to the spirit of the author's beloved grandmother, this poetry collection documents travels throughout Mexico as well as Costa Rica, France, and the poet's country of birth, the United States. The titular poem, "Gracias," describes the three-day drive from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, taken by 60-something Alma Luz Villanueva, leaving behind all of her material possessions. These poems travel from the center of el corazon to fellow humans experiencing war and danger, the planet, and places of joy and beauty. As a whole, they tell a spiritual trajectory.

Alma Luz Villanueva teaches in the MFA in creative writing program at Antioch University in Los Angeles. Her poetry collections include Bloodroot; Desire; Life Span; Mother, May I?; Planet, which won the Latin American Writers Poetry Prize; and Vida. Of her novels, The Ultraviolet Sky received the American Book Award and was listed in 500 Great Books by Women; Naked Ladies won the PEN Oakland Fiction Award and was excerpted in Caliente: The Best Erotic Latin American Writing; and Luna’s California Poppies was recently excerpted in the anthology Califlora. Her latest novel is Song of the Golden Scorpion.

Product Details ISBN: 9781609403959
ISBN-10: 1609403959
Publisher: Wings Press
Publication Date: March 1st, 2015
Pages: 244
Language: English
"Wise, compassionate, gritty, intimate, these are not poems to put on the top shelf of your library; they are meant for the kitchen table where they can have their say in the daily conversation of women and men who love, and lose, and celebrate all that is given as their world. Their insistent rhythms—so many of them reminiscent of spells of enchantment—are rooted in the song of what it means to live and not turn away; not from rape and murder, the devastating ribs of a starving child, the blood soaked hands of privilege and all that it destroys; and not from love, from joy, from the equally insistent vision of what we might be, if only we will listen beneath the words to the one heart beating. Perhaps that is the genius of this poet and her poems; the ability, the courage, to lift the world exactly as she finds it, and to hold it so high in the ordinary light of day that all may see the miracle of what we and all things are, and to do so in a way that the whisper of Gracias in the heart of each and every thing echoes long after she returns to the work at hand; making poems that cut the world back into one."  —Peter Levitt, poet, translator, and author, One Hundred Butterflies

“Alma Luz Villanueva has long been a national treasure, and her writing stands dead center at the beating heart of Chicano literature. She is a sensual mystic.” ­ —Luis Alberto Urrea, author, Queen of America

"I wish I could read every poetry collection published in 2015. That would be the only method to say with certainty that Alma Luz Villanueva’s Gracias is 2015’s most interesting poetry collection . . . . Gracias shares provocative ideas, applies interesting poetic strategies, makes readers laugh, makes readers cry, breaks some rules along the way . . . . Gracias is the kind of collection that deserves selection as National Poetry Month’s 'one city one book' title, if there were such a thing. There’s everything to recommend contacting an independent bookseller, or Wings Press, to give a National Poetry Month gift to all your poetry-loving friends, all your Chicana Literature-loving friends, all your curmudgeonly friends, and all your strict formalist friends, Alma Luz Villanueva’s newest collection of poetry, Gracias. After they’ve read it, your friends will say without a moment’s hesitancy, no rhyme nor meters required, gracias." —Michael Sedano,