me drawing a picture of me[n]

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Product Details
$16.99  $15.80
Willow Publishing
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.16 inches | 0.25 pounds
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About the Author
Rachelle Escamilla is a poet and 2018 Library of Congress Visiting Scholar. She is the producer and host of Out of Our Minds, the nation's longest-running poetry radio in history. founder of the Poets & Writers Coalition at San Jose State University. Rachelle lived in China where she co-founded The Sun Yat-sen University English-language Center for Creative Writing and headed a lecture series at the American Center of the United States Consulate of Guangzhou. She is the winner of the Virginia de Arujo Academy of American Poets prize and she teaches Creative Writing and Social Action at California State University Monterey Bay. In 2018, Rachelle was a Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress, Hispanic Division, where she conducted research around her grandfather's 1969 testimony for the fair treatment of migrant laborers in California and recorded poems for the library's archive. Rachelle was born and raised in Hollister, California and currently lives in Monterey, California.

me drawing a picture of me[n] is not a poetry book to open to any random page, but an impressionistic story that unfolds deliberately and rhythmically. It is desperate and loving, sexy and sad, the story of a city, men, and the interior of a body, a tumor that "leaned on my ovary like your head on my/ shoulder." At its core, this is a love letter, shot through with disappointment and longing-- "We are a pelican song. We are a soft whistle. We are// nothing really." --and it is shockingly beautiful on every page.

--Katie Booth, John W. Kluge Fellow, Library of Congress

In a lattice of love, image and industrial stamina, Escamilla makes magic on the page. Indomitable in their journeying, these poems reveal the theater of a proletarians walk home. Reminding us that we do not want a glamorous center of the universe. Reminding us that we are loved. Reminding us that we are her city.

--Tongo Eisen-Martin, Heaven is All Goodbyes, 2018 American Book Award and California Book Award Winner

In me drawing a picture of me(n), Rachelle Escamilla deftly captures the all-at-once-ness that is the basis of ecstacy in an ordinary life-- when the threshold states of elation, despair and unknowing are experienced in rapid succession, alternating, blurring and at times joining together so that a person finds themself wrenched by sensations and standing outside themself, observing themself as they are touched exquisitely or ruthlessly by the people, localities and predicaments shaping their particular fate. Here it is the American city of Pittsburgh, where the foundational American problems of racial injustice, poverty, and political reckoning (or lack thereof), meet the universals of love, desire, natural beauty and religious peril in the body of the Chicana speaker, whose voice touches every register in its compelling address.

--Adam Soldofsky, Memory Foam, 2017 American Book Award Winner

In Rachelle Escamilla's remarkable second book, me drawing a picture of me(n), the personal becomes powerfully and inextricably linked to an interpersonal lyric that strikes at the roots of (economic and male) malfeasance and toxic masculinity. Staged as four seasons in the city of Pittsburgh during the momentous election year of 2008, this complex book scours the cityscape for signs of permanence--some more illusory or sophistic than others--against a backdrop of transience and shimmering hope. Escamilla writes, "Here I am searching this city for fundamentals but finding lost / words like: beauty, sublime, or lascivious innuendo." That these terms are fraught with the historical pollution of (white) male perspectives is part of Escamilla's project, as she skillfully pieces together a dense portraiture of failed encounters, broken correspondences, and emotional contusions. Escamilla reconstructs the city from inside through its exits and disappearances. Between rituals of ascension and declension, me drawing a picture of me(n) chronicles the shifting apparatus of institutionalized poverty, illness, abuse, heartbreak, and renewal from the standpoint of a lyrical vulnerability that does not speak so much as reinscribes the self.

--Jose-luis Moctezuma, Place-Discipline, 2018 Omnidawn Prize Winner