Edward Vidaurre is one the driving forces behind the explosion of poetic and literary art coming out of Texas’ Rio Grande Valley region in recent years. This collection, published by Slough Press, offers a very personal and dynamic glimpse into the journey that brought both Edward’s poetry and his person to this point.
“I Took My Barrio on a Road Trip” is a tale of soul always searching; it is a story of a man that has found a home. It is a tale of a culture that exists anywhere you take your heart and your history. It looks to the future and it seeks to define itself in the ever-ending present.
I am not Chicano, but I have a brother in the pieces “Summer in El Salvador” and “The Bullet of ’91”. I did not grow up in the housing projects of Los Angeles , yet I share in the story of “Her Name was Maria”.
These poems each stand on their own merit and under their own power, but when taken together, this book becomes something greater than the sum of its parts. Divided into three, roughly chronological sections, exploring this collection leaves the reader with the feeling of having gotten to know a new friend, someone that CAN understand, because he HAS lived. Edward Vidaurre invites us all along as fellow travelers, knowing very well that we all are here to share the best and the worst life has to give us.
Buy this book of poetry, and if your travels every bring you to deep South Texas, do what you can to see Edward Vidaurre read, I promise, you will find a friend.
-PW COVINGTON, AUTHOR OF “THE MOTOR HOTELS OF CENTRAL AVENUE: A POETRY COLLECTION
The movement of Edward Vidaurre’s debut poetry collection from El Salvador, to Southern California, to the Rio Grand Valley of Texas is inviting and vibrant. The poems selected to represent each region emulate the unique textures, flavors, cultures, and experiences each chapter of his life’s journey.
With imagery rich and language authentic, Vidaurre pulls no punches to bring the reader with him through each poem. “I Took my Barrio on a Road Trip” is a feast for the senses from mouth-watering lines from the kitchen of his abuelita, to the heart-stopping phrases of, “The Bullet of ’91,” to the troubling cacophony in “Bath Time, to the rending ache of, “Wounds of a Woman,” to the coarse truth of, “Friends.”
“I Took my Barrio on a Road Trip,” is an unapologetic introduction to an unflinching poet. His writing is raw, visceral, and cuts straight to the quick. Vidaurre reveals tender vulnerability with such literary strength the reader is left with only admiration, no trace of pity. A fantastic read and inspiring journey. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more work from this poet!
-JENUINE POETESS, AUTHOR OF “BLOOD STORIES:28 POEMS”
“I Took My Barrio on a Road Trip” is a rare gem in the world of poetry especially in the Hispanic community. Edward Vidaurre’s poetry is candid and unapologetic and brings the barrio to those who have never experienced it. The pain and wisdom he has experienced through the years comes through in every word he writes. Some of it is written in Spanish and he often uses colorful language but that just means that it’s poetry in its purest form. Standouts include “Angele Dei” which is about what his guardian angel must be going through in protecting him. Another is “Friends” and this one deals with the different situations a person goes through, from loneliness to suicide. Even though his life is deeply rooted in the barrio its universal themes make it a book anyone can enjoy regardless of where they come from.
-AMAZON REVIEWER, CONSTANT READER
Since getting my copy of Edward’s book of poetry I Took My Barrio On A Road Trip, I have been trying to find the best way to express my reaction to this small collection of very powerful poems. Edward is able to concisely express and convey images that put the reader into his shoes. I found the poems beautiful moving and for me at least multilayered.
I’m a farm girl, grew up in the middle of nowhere surrounded by land and trees a lot of trees. Edward’s world is very different from my own experience yet his imagery is touching and allowed me to experience vicariously what he did in a large city. His poetry also reminded me that for the young every experience carries great impact. In a way it was nice to revisit that feeling.
Thanks Edward, I look forward to reading more of your work.
This book is a must read. It truly is a great book. Each story is unique. Edward really knows how to capture the reader and you get to know him even more through his stories. This book brought back sweet memories from East LA and even some from San Benito. I cannot wait for his next book and to be captured into it again.
-VANESSA RODRIGUEZ, SAN BENITO,TX
January 21, 2014
…but great poets realize their own worlds are substantial enough and merely need to open the door and invite readers in…Vidaurre is on the road to being a great poet…I’m glad my heart and mind were able to hitch a ride. Getting lost on this poetic journey, in this Barrio strangeland, left me curiously warm, familiar and found. Bravo!
I’d so far read all the poetry collections by Edward Vidaurre …except his debut volume. Now that I’ve finished it, I can say this might actually be the best among those works! The entries here — all in English, peppered with formal and colloquial Spanish — are divided under the subject headings of “Guanaco,” “Chicano” and “Tejano,” delineating the poet’s life journey successively from El Salvador to California to South TX.
With minimalist flair, I was given glimpses of relatives, marketplaces & guerrillas in a Central American country seemingly isolated and dominated by poverty and rifles; my favorite is “Summer in El Salvador” (beautiful, yet frightening and incredibly sad). I also joined in the author’s reminiscing on a youth spent in housing projects that used to exist in Los Angeles, in an environment of squalor and gang violence.
It’s curious how those poems affected me far more than the “Tejano” entries (considering I’m a South Texas native), but my favorite of the latter entries might be “No Uvas,” which fittingly begins with a quote from Cesar Chavez. “Zombies” has some surprising interpretations on its title. “What I Want” made me burst out laughing at one point (re: church attendance). “Rapture of 2011” is an ironic look at a nearly forgotten day of a failed prediction.
Full disclosure: I know Edward; he’s a friend. And I’ve heard many of the poems before at live readings. But this is the first time I read the collection cover to cover. I’m overwhelmed.
It’s bitter and sweet all at the same time, particularly his reminiscences about the barrio in LA. With him, I am a boy who peed his pants in fright. With him, I am a man who kissed a bullet tenderly. With him, I am a lonesome tree. With him, I love a small girl’s innocence, treasure and fear it.
To drink in his words is to taste the bitterness, feel it churn your stomach, to be moved to tears by sweetness, and to be elated by holy caffeinated peace.
Read this book and live another life, be one with his barrio, if for only a little while.
-ALAN OAK, AUTHOR OF “DARKLINGS/OSCURIDADES”
If I had lived Edward Vidaurre’s early years I would have thought myself to be in a place resembling hell, but not this writer. You catch in his words always a real joy of living and loving that gives the poet a playful, sly humor and such bounce-backedness. Nothing knocks this man down for long. Edward loves reading, he loves his work, his friends, and he loves his wife and children. The man writes like a lover born under a lucky star, and perhaps he was. Grace has blessed him. Read this book to cure your blues and to learn how to live. This poetry is useful. He reminds you of a Henry Miller, Charles Bukowsky, and Mary Oliver rolled into one.
-CHUCK TAYLOR JR., AUTHOR OF “BEING BEAT”
Poetry is not my thing. Seldom, if ever, do I read a book of poems from cover to cover. The exception is, Edward Vidaurre’s, I Took My Barrio on a Road Trip. From page one through to the end, his gut wrenching mini-memoirs literally blew me away. No fancy words here, only raw, free-style emotions laid bare for the world to see in an effort to find the good in a sorely troubled background.
-Don Clifford, author Ben Solomon in Destiny Diverted and Zoo Nonsense
This book took me through a time capsule of Barrios from mine to his. I felt like I was walking the walk through the trials and tribulations that allowed him to share these beautiful words of wisdom. The passion expressed in the poems portray Eduardo as an old soul who has endured and persevered a tough childhood and upbringing. I didn’t want to put the book down. I couldn’t put the book down. I am looking forward to more road trips of LA VIDA del BARRIO POET!
I took the time to savour this book. Edward’s poetry left me saying “wow” after almost every piece. The writing is real, touching emotions to cross the divide, very human.
Just finished reading “Barrio” over the weekend. Thank you, Edward, for taking us on your journey with you. I felt like I was there. An awesome read.
“I took my Barrio on a Road Trip” is a personal journey that will take you on a ride from El Salvador to East Los Angeles and then to the South Texas, his writing is strong, skillful and honest. Each poem has a story were he takes the reader on a ride through moments of struggle, happiness and change, a barrio poet who has turn his adversity into a celebration of life.
I was very intrigued by this book, I have heard Edward poems many times in different readings, when I heard that he had his first book of verse, it made want to get it right away, and to my surprise he took me on a quite a journey it was more than what I expected. For me growing up in Mexico and then coming to the valley was nothing like the barrio or the housing projects of Los Angeles, but I can understand the poem “Domiga” where he talks about his grandma, have a few friends who have experience the poems “Her Name was Maria” and “Runaway Mother”. I can understand the pain in the poems “Wounds of a woman” and “Mothers Pain”. I can perceive his relationship with his father with the poem “Bath Time” and how his relationship with his daughter is very different. As the book progresses the tone of the poems change just like his life, he turned those bad experiences into something beautiful like his poetry.