Body of Render
Body of Render explores the internal and external impacts on our humanity when political, national, and societal decisions strip away our basic human rights. What does it mean to be an underrepresented individual in a country where the most powerful seat in the land unashamedly perpetuates racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and classist behaviors? The voices document a journey before and after the last presidential election. These poems cry out for reconsideration of our broken systems to find common and safe ground rooted in equitable treatment of each other as human beings. How do we exude love when being a person of color or underrepresented person in this country means the dominate white-male-able-bodied-heterosexual narrative continues to threaten our voices? This collection carves at the physical, the political, the intimate, and the structural with poems that simultaneously create and encourage voice to seek a path toward collective mending.
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About the Author
Felicia Zamora's books include Body of Render, the 2018 Benjamin Saltman Award winner, Instrument of Gaps, & in Open, Marvel, and Of Form & Gather, the 2016 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize winner. A 2019 CantoMundo fellow, she won the 2015 Tomaz Salamun Prize and was Poet Laureate of Fort Collins, CO. Her poems appear in Academy of American Poets (Poem-A-Day), the Georgia Review, the Missouri Review (Poem of the Week), The Nation, and others. She is an editor for Colorado Review and programs manager for the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
Language is action in these poems, which are utterances of pleading, fighting, and mending in an America we can hardly stand to look at straight on. Body of Render is a book of saying what must be said: "say Capitol Hill be voice of all your people, be just; in haunt, you must be voice, must." The risks Felicia Zamora takes with form, syntax, and breath pay off in poem after poem--and make Body of Render one of the most dynamic--most transformative--collections I've read in years.
--Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones
In 1917, NAACP organizer James Weldon Johnson wrote "To America," a poem in which he asked, "How would you have us, as we are?//...Rising or falling?" And with the (unjust, Russian-influenced) election of 2016, one hundred years later we (migrants, people of color, women, queer, trans and non-binary folx, folx with disabilities, abuse survivors, and all who believe equity is true freedom) are still forced to fight for better answers than the ones America is giving. How grateful I am to hear Felicia Zamora's heart and voice rising, reminding us that "alone is not us." Here is a book that is part elegy, part ecstasy, part clapback, and all vision. How she zooms in on the microscopic wonder of cells only to zoom out to remind us what we are capable of. "oh / unanswerable molecule of you; oh inorganic beast; oh / organic beast; burn down, day day, then rise." Thank you, Felicia, for lifting us (and yourself!) up with these prayer-poems. May this book usher in freedom--simple and mighty.
--TC Tolbert, author of Gephyromania