Here, from the caldrons of the South Texas borderlands, we behold the truth, many truths — made of desired love, family loss, “raspa stands,” the delight of art and the “Irony that Dreamers can’t dream,” as Golbanoo Sateyesh writes. And there is wisdom, as Luis E. Godinez provides, “Healing is the only rare face/ that needs to spread the news.” Yet, at the core of this dawn-eyed Río Grande Valley collection, we are checked by the heated question of our times —Valeria D. Lorm, unpacks the burn, “ Are you a Citizen of the United States?” To rise, to survive, to find the path of total being in teen zones where the fears of school shootings coexist with expansive possibility – these are the streaming elements that flourish in these poems. Let us salute each poet, each teacher and school, each familia and neighborhood for nourishing these poets busy with the creative tasks of re-imagining Texas and a nation undergoing critical change. Let us salute, Edward Vidaurre and Rodney Gomez, our City of McAllen Poet Laureates. A rare, most needed, and illuminating set of heart-flamed and soul-chiseled verse — ¡Bravo!
Juan Felipe Herrera
Poet Laureate of the United States 2015-2017
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