Beast Meridian by Vanessa Angélica Villarreal (Noemi Press) — I read Beast Meridian last year, but I find myself returning to the collection for its intentional use of experimental forms and the seamlessness of looping personal histories into a collection that refuses erasure.
Terror by Toby Martinez de las Rivas (Faber & Faber) — Last summer I purchased one book while traveling abroad, Terror. Both formal and inventive, my initial perusal at the bookstore made me realize this was the one book that I had to make sure I had room for in my backpack.
The Real Horse by Farid Matuk (University of Arizona Press) — While at AWP 2018, I opened Matuk’s newest collection and found the spilling, punctuation-less prose/poems to be both jarring and brilliantly hallucinogenic.
Silent Anatomies by Monica Ong (Kore Press) — Filled with diagrams and fragments, the collection drew me in for its visual/hybrid form, as well as its focus medicine/anatomy and memory.
5 Metros de Poemas by Carlos Oquendo de Amat (Ugly Duckling Presse) — As some of my recent work explores more experimental forms and concepts, I find it necessary to reach back toward my own lineage to contextualize experimentation within a Latinx framework. Originally published in Spanish in 1927, this accordion fold object-book feels both surreal and ancestral to concrete poetry movements.
Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions by Valeria Luselli (Coffeehouse Press) — This critical, and unfortunately timely, book-length essay examines her experience as a Mexican immigrant in America as she volunteers to assist unaccompanied minors awaiting their immigration court hearings through translating their experiences for immigration lawyers. I read it immediately after it came out and continue to recommend the book to others. (Note: Currently, the book is $5 to help shed light on the experiences of unaccompanied minors attempting to enter this country.)
Outside of these literary works, I find myself continuing to gravitate toward the research and histories of Mexican-American lynchings in the southwest following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 and well into the 20th Century, as well as the experiences of those who endured and escaped the Dust Bowl. Both closely identify with my own heritage, and I am looking forward to continue to research and explore how these histories are in conversation with my own writing.