Reviews

Betsy Sholl, Former Poet Laureate of Maine

Lisha Adela Garcia’s poems in Blood Rivers are deeply rooted in land and language, in heartbreak, paradox and celebration. Like a prophet of old, she asks what “remains of your belly of mercy?” ! en she draws us into that mercy, with poems whose embrace is wide, whose magic is real, whose language is vivid and rich. Gateways and ghosts, generations of women, socks, snails, history, heaven and other “puzzles of the sky”— these poems are “not enslaved to the linear,” but rather full of mischief, ancient wisdom and generosity. In English mostly, but with a Spanish soul, this is a work of vision, urgent and compelling.

Richard Jackson, Poet from Tennessee

Lisha Adela García asks “How do we know the stars / within us are not dark / wings from a dead moon,” in Blood Rivers, Poems of texture From the Border, a superb fi rst book that wrestles with this question in a series of poems that balance on the borders, the margins of geography, history, culture and psychology. It is at these borders that she can exchange selves and possibilities, speaking at various times as a priestess atop Chi Chen Itza, Lot’s wife, or even as a bull in the ring in the book’s fi nal, sweeping poem. Haunted by death and violence, the speaker in these poems keeps defi ning herself by her ability to empathize and thus transcend margins that have separated the present and history, myth and reality, Mexico and the States, the living and the dead, the domestic and political, and the result is an important vision of and for our times. As she herself says, “ My history is stored in the eaves / of the houses where I have slept."

Lana Hechtman Ayers - Blood Rivers

Lisha Adela García’s splendid debut full-length collection of poems, Blood Rivers, follows the legacy of blood—spilled, spared, reviled, holy, singled-out, intermingled, and sustaining. These are poems of cultural border crossings and personal boundary breaches as seen from the female perspective. Her “whole life is the geography between…two countries, two cultures, two languages,” the Rio Grande, “hugging both sides” of her story. She envisions her “long black tongue, a computer / chewing the lessons of history.” ! e poems can be scathing, calling us out for our absurdities, as in “St, Francis in Mesilla” where we hear how “War tames the sassy wildness of the rich / who justify themselves later by becoming Buddhists / who sell meditation tapes.” And these poems can also be gentle, calling out to our best selves, as in “Quizás” where we hear “Love is a waltz / starving death for a moment.” ! is collection speaks to the challenges of our blended native, Spanish, colonist, immigrant North American culture in the way Neruda’s Canto General spoke to Chile’s challenges. Lisha Adela García tells us “Women are doors”. Allow this woman poet’s voice to open into you like a door to your heart and be your guide along treacherous Blood Rivers. You will fi nd her to be a compass of lavender / sage and a new breeze.”

Christopher Brown

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Christopher Brown

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Christopher Brown

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Christopher Brown

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