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A review of elizabeth and other poems

Tenth Annual Poetry Contest Winner

June 14, 2018 Voice Thundering: Hoy te beso, he promised. That day, though, his promise followed me all day, kept me riled up. Anticipation like sap running down the ridges of tree bark, slow motion stickiness thickening my vision: I evaded those sweet, thin Puerto Rican lips on purpose. Everybody thought I was one of those girls, que no son facil.

When in truth it was all front. Later in the day, when he finally cornered me in the stairwell, amidst the rolling eyes of our friends, who kept watch by the doorway, I pretended to push him away, all while really pulling, his earth-marble-blue eyes warm and cold at the same time. My friends finally pulled me away.

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Amazed and dizzy, I let myself get dragged away. Emotions during those teenage years were so big, each conflict gargantuan in nature, and loneliness—even for a popular girl—the norm.

  • But to end with that image, those sounds—this tells a very different story than what the speaker wishes for, or even claims to be saying;
  • Barr is not interested in public debate or controversial issues; she is not a poet of opposition and struggle.

We are thrust back into our very own sexual awakening oh, Carlos! Our protagonist is 15-year-old Xiomara Batista, who comes of age as the female half of a fraternal twin set with Dominican immigrant parents.

Instead, it is to be a poet and a storyteller. Acevedo is thoughtful in challenging gender norms from the outset. Yet, inside her own home, she cannot fight back.

Her hands are bound by unbreakable rules.

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It goes something like this: How often do the privileged willingly hand over the keys to unlock shackles? Particularly when those shackles hold their privilege in place? A lovely detail in reciprocity of their relationship: And it is through her hands, inside this journal she is able to find an outlet for her thoughts, work out her feelings, discover her gifts. She has been raised and closely follows a tradition ebbed in patriarchy.

Her life choices have been determined by others—by men—without much thought for her desires. Surrender is the expectation and she has complied faithfully, first through giving up her dream to be a nun, then through marrying a womanizing, good-for-nothing pendejo, and then by giving up her land, her home. The twins came as a late-in-life miracle that drove the devoted believer into religious fanaticism.

  • My friends finally pulled me away;
  • June 14, 2018 Voice Thundering;
  • I mean, you write a poem about a tree and it works;
  • Place is very important for me, as it is for any writer;
  • That river had a huge impact on my childhood, as I grew up in a house right on the river, and my bedroom facing it;
  • Excerpt from Book Briefs, Book Reviews in The Georgia Review by Alice Friman Working from direct experiences gleaned while visiting China, Tibet and especially Egypt, Barr in poem after poem makes marketplaces and streets come alive in a rush of images that suggests both wide-angle cinematography and jostled hand-held cameras.

She is relentless in making her daughter fall in line right behind her. The best way to show love? She smacks to draw blood, humiliates to curb behavior, punishes to instruct in the ways of surrender. As would be expected, these acts fortify the already recalcitrant Xiomara. Our heroine fights back at times. She poignantly questions the way women are required to bend in her religion.

  • Green-felt seed pods of magnolia from which spring tiny hooks like wires, pine cones, maple burrs;
  • Often you juxtapose massive objects and elemental forces against the smallest details, and this results in a kind of disorientation for me.