Beast Meridian, poetry. Noemi Press, Akrilica Series, 2017.   Cover Design: Natalie Eilbert, Interior Design: Sarah Gzemski Paperback, 100 pp. September 21, 2017. ISBN: 978-1-934819-65-4

Beast Meridian, poetry. Noemi Press, Akrilica Series, 2017.
Cover Design: Natalie Eilbert, Interior Design: Sarah Gzemski
Paperback, 100 pp. September 21, 2017. ISBN: 978-1-934819-65-4

WINNER OF THE JOHN A. ROBERTSON BEST FIRST BOOK OF POETRY AWARD FROM THE TEXAS INSTITUTE OF LETTERS

Narrated by a speaker in mourning marked as an at-risk juvenile, Beast Meridian follows a first-generation Mexican-American girl in crisis surviving the painful experiences of a racialized girlhood, cultural displacement, generational trauma, familial loss, economic struggle, and violence. In turn, this collection radically dreams and imagines a surreal state in which these damages may be recovered, and in which the fragmented self may be remembered and re-membered.

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REVIEWS AND PRAISE


Eduardo C. Corral, author of SLOW LIGHTNING, Winner of the Yale Younger Poets Prize

“In Beast Meridian, Vanessa Angélica Villarreal braids searing lyricism and intimate narratives into utterances and patterns that radicalize the heart and the eye. Rooted in the borderlands, Villarreal’s language—scarred but alive—confronts and refutes the violence of erasure and assimilation. ‘Every brutal abandoning’ of the self and of the flesh is rigorously and intensely rendered. Line after line shimmers with grace and fury. Vanessa Angélica Villarreal is an innovative and necessary poet. Beast Meridian is a high watermark in Latinx poetry. I will be teaching it often.”

Khadijah Queen, Winner of the 2014 Leslie Scalapino Award for Innovative Women Performance Writers and author of I'M SO FINE: A LIST OF FAMOUS MEN AND WHAT I HAD ON

Beast Meridian is a fierce incantation, harnessing the intuition and intelligence of personae navigating a "melancholy galaxy" full of the violences of societies and families, in which the pain of the earth and the pain of the body are not separate. In languages of tenderness and weaponry, landscapes and bodyscapes, insight and foresight, talismanic memories and imaginings, Vanessa Angelica Villareal constructs layered complications to see newly into, or grieve not being able to look beyond. Far from surrender, the poems write toward a communal resilience: "entre todas las mujeres     we kneel to push away the final night"—a unity among wounded women, their collective mythology infused with necessary interrogations and radiant intensity, as they (and their words) "spill & spill until we spread / like a flood."

Aracelis Girmay, National Endowment of the Arts Fellow and author of THE BLACK MARIA

Vanessa Villareal’s poems are alive, haired, precise and strange with ardor, with loss, with a remembering (live and lit!) born out of the crossroads of elegy and desire. With these poems I feel I have the rare and gorgeous chance to experience a formal invention built out of urgency, and with such intimacy. Here there is a diction, a music, knived and lucid. A body, or bodies, shapeshifting across pages, possessed and dispossessing, dying-birthing-getting born, simultaneously “I” and “we”: “your black cervix my first egg drop & / so we hatched myself—“. There is such a brilliance everywhere here.


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