Books

MyOTHER TONGUE
Rosa Alcalá

Praise for MyOTHER TONGUE

 “[Alcalá] uses empty spaces, hesitations and semantic difficulties to address mothers and daughters, herself as mother and herself as daughter, and the messy emotions and miscommunications that move between languages (in her case, English and Spanish), as well as between and within female bodies, in breastfeeding, menstruation, giving birth. Alcalá’s short, wry lines, self-interruptions and open spaces remind us how little precedent there is for honest writing on these topics, compared with the epic traditions of fathers and sons.”
—Stephanie Burt, The New York Times Book Review

“The legacy of womanhood, the blessings and dangers of the female body, and the shifting cultural identities from one generation to the next, are a few of the threads that stitch together this dazzling journey through one woman’s matrilineal story.”
—Rigoberto González, NBC News

“These are poems full of duality—English is simultaneously an interloper and a lover: 'English had a hooptie/ that was the joint. Now my mother goes gaga/ over our cute babies.' Throughout, the mother figure is both missing (the speaker’s own mother) and present (the speaker is a mother). Alcalá offers much to like in a text that both nourishes and devastates.”—Publishers Weekly

“Alcalá intertwines lyrical meditation with existential concerns and current affairs: the women in the maquiladoras, occupy Wall street, the birth of a Minotaur, the many projections of the name Maria, the domestic perils and dangers of the everyday life, all woven organically. MyOTHER TONGUE, then, swings between poetry and poetic prose, between lectures, performances, and essays, because—it seems—that is the only way to journey language.”
—Sylvia Aguilar Zéleny, Entropy Mag

MyOTHER TONGUE is a persistent and precise examination of the expansiveness of voice and its limitations.”
—Lucia LoTempio, The Miami Rail

MyOTHER TONGUE reminds us that language — its syllables, its cultural references — shapes who we are and how we’ll be remembered.”—Hello Giggles

“A book about borders and class, language and family, MyOTHER Tongue is one you'll be reading for years to come.”—Bustle

“[Alcalá's] writing mines the possibilities and probes the limits of the lyric poem.”
—Michael Dowdy, The Writer's Chronicle

“How do we trace shifts of home or syllable, the history of becoming in language? We show what's passed on with the mother-milk, the blood-words, pushed from the body onto the page. That's what these poems do, spilling beautifully, forming in the mouth of the reader. This is the 'ark built to survive': our things built with words circling, mother-to-daughter-to- mother-to-daughter.”
—Eleni Sikelianos

“Here are poems that reckon with the histories of family, generations, language and love: how our tongues are mothered or not, how we are given to and abandoned. Alcalá writes, 'What good is it to erect/ of absence/ a word?' Tough and gorgeous, smart and touching, these poems are offerings that tie, untie, unite, entice.”
—Hoa Nguyen

“Rosa Alcalá's new poemario MyOTHER TONGUE begins in the archives of what has yet to be written. She writes with precision and dynamism from the borders between death (of a mother) and birth (of a daughter). What a body produces, and what produces a body: labor, trauma, memory, sacrifice, pain, danger, and language formed both on the tongue and in the culture and the spaces between what can be said and what is missing, the linguistic and existential problem of not having the right words. The darknesses in Alcalá's work emerge from what happens when we don't see ourselves in the languages that both form and destroy us as we labor in this 'dream called money.' Alcalá is a {un}documentarian of the highest order, a {un}documentarian of what history and memory try to erase. Her poems are urgent, demanding and haunting.”
—Daniel Borzutzky

About the Author

Rosa Alcalá is the author of Undocumentaries and The Lust of Unsentimental Waters. The recipient of an NEA Translation Fellowship, she has translated the work of Cecilia Vicuña, Lila Zemborain, and Lourdes Vázquez, among other poets. Spit Temple: The Selected Performances of Cecilia Vicuña, edited and translated by Alcalá, was runner-up for a PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Born and raised in Paterson, NJ, she now lives in El Paso, TX, where she teaches in the Department of Creative Writing and Bilingual MFA Program at the University of Texas-El Paso.

Links

Poems in the Boston Review
Poems at A Dozen Nothings
Video: Rosa Alcalá at McNally Jackson Books, MyOTHER TONGUE book launch
Video: Rosa Alcalá, interviewed by Ae Hee Lee, Institute for Latino Studies, Samora Library, University of Notre Dame
Interview: Rosa Alcalá on Marfa Public Radio
Poems and Audio at The St. Mark's Poetry Project
Poetry Society of America Author Page
Rosa Alcalá at Academy of American Poets
University of Texas El Paso Faculty Page
NEA Translation Fellow Page

Spring 2017

104 pages, 6 × 8 inches 
Paperback Poetry
978-0996002554

$18 U.S.
View Buy

Spring 2017

104 pages, 6 × 8 inches 
Paperback Poetry
978-0996002554

$18 U.S.
View Buy

Praise for MyOTHER TONGUE

 “[Alcalá] uses empty spaces, hesitations and semantic difficulties to address mothers and daughters, herself as mother and herself as daughter, and the messy emotions and miscommunications that move between languages (in her case, English and Spanish), as well as between and within female bodies, in breastfeeding, menstruation, giving birth. Alcalá’s short, wry lines, self-interruptions and open spaces remind us how little precedent there is for honest writing on these topics, compared with the epic traditions of fathers and sons.”
—Stephanie Burt, The New York Times Book Review

“The legacy of womanhood, the blessings and dangers of the female body, and the shifting cultural identities from one generation to the next, are a few of the threads that stitch together this dazzling journey through one woman’s matrilineal story.”
—Rigoberto González, NBC News

“These are poems full of duality—English is simultaneously an interloper and a lover: 'English had a hooptie/ that was the joint. Now my mother goes gaga/ over our cute babies.' Throughout, the mother figure is both missing (the speaker’s own mother) and present (the speaker is a mother). Alcalá offers much to like in a text that both nourishes and devastates.”—Publishers Weekly

“Alcalá intertwines lyrical meditation with existential concerns and current affairs: the women in the maquiladoras, occupy Wall street, the birth of a Minotaur, the many projections of the name Maria, the domestic perils and dangers of the everyday life, all woven organically. MyOTHER TONGUE, then, swings between poetry and poetic prose, between lectures, performances, and essays, because—it seems—that is the only way to journey language.”
—Sylvia Aguilar Zéleny, Entropy Mag

MyOTHER TONGUE is a persistent and precise examination of the expansiveness of voice and its limitations.”
—Lucia LoTempio, The Miami Rail

MyOTHER TONGUE reminds us that language — its syllables, its cultural references — shapes who we are and how we’ll be remembered.”—Hello Giggles

“A book about borders and class, language and family, MyOTHER Tongue is one you'll be reading for years to come.”—Bustle

“[Alcalá's] writing mines the possibilities and probes the limits of the lyric poem.”
—Michael Dowdy, The Writer's Chronicle

“How do we trace shifts of home or syllable, the history of becoming in language? We show what's passed on with the mother-milk, the blood-words, pushed from the body onto the page. That's what these poems do, spilling beautifully, forming in the mouth of the reader. This is the 'ark built to survive': our things built with words circling, mother-to-daughter-to- mother-to-daughter.”
—Eleni Sikelianos

“Here are poems that reckon with the histories of family, generations, language and love: how our tongues are mothered or not, how we are given to and abandoned. Alcalá writes, 'What good is it to erect/ of absence/ a word?' Tough and gorgeous, smart and touching, these poems are offerings that tie, untie, unite, entice.”
—Hoa Nguyen

“Rosa Alcalá's new poemario MyOTHER TONGUE begins in the archives of what has yet to be written. She writes with precision and dynamism from the borders between death (of a mother) and birth (of a daughter). What a body produces, and what produces a body: labor, trauma, memory, sacrifice, pain, danger, and language formed both on the tongue and in the culture and the spaces between what can be said and what is missing, the linguistic and existential problem of not having the right words. The darknesses in Alcalá's work emerge from what happens when we don't see ourselves in the languages that both form and destroy us as we labor in this 'dream called money.' Alcalá is a {un}documentarian of the highest order, a {un}documentarian of what history and memory try to erase. Her poems are urgent, demanding and haunting.”
—Daniel Borzutzky

About the Author

Rosa Alcalá is the author of Undocumentaries and The Lust of Unsentimental Waters. The recipient of an NEA Translation Fellowship, she has translated the work of Cecilia Vicuña, Lila Zemborain, and Lourdes Vázquez, among other poets. Spit Temple: The Selected Performances of Cecilia Vicuña, edited and translated by Alcalá, was runner-up for a PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Born and raised in Paterson, NJ, she now lives in El Paso, TX, where she teaches in the Department of Creative Writing and Bilingual MFA Program at the University of Texas-El Paso.

Links

Poems in the Boston Review
Poems at A Dozen Nothings
Video: Rosa Alcalá at McNally Jackson Books, MyOTHER TONGUE book launch
Video: Rosa Alcalá, interviewed by Ae Hee Lee, Institute for Latino Studies, Samora Library, University of Notre Dame
Interview: Rosa Alcalá on Marfa Public Radio
Poems and Audio at The St. Mark's Poetry Project
Poetry Society of America Author Page
Rosa Alcalá at Academy of American Poets
University of Texas El Paso Faculty Page
NEA Translation Fellow Page