Tracing the Horse

Diana Marie Delgado. Boa, $17 (112p) ISBN 978-1-942683-87-2
Delgado’s stirring debut offers a ledger of the violence inflicted on female bodies within La Puente, located in the San Gabriel Valley of greater Los Angeles: “Men are the only islands/ I’ve ever lived on./ I’ll never get away.” “Now in the middle of my life,” she declares, “my journey is to forgive/ everything that’s happened.” Within Delgado’s poetics, forgiveness stems from the creation of beauty. As the book unfolds, Delgado situates the violent oppression of migrant women against a backdrop of the natural world; “The moon’s gone down again,” she explains in the title poem. Here, the speaker’s internal life is projected onto a desert landscape, as Delgado provocatively challenges the boundaries between interior and exterior, self and other, individual and collective. Despite its timely narrative arc and provocative political resonances, most of the work’s aesthetic choices rely on familiar images. “I rode through the stars,” she writes, “through streets where the wind talked to us./ Savage birds called out; I looked up and listened.” Some readers may wish for a more capacious definition of beauty than “birds,” “love,” and “the stars,” but Delgado’s vulnerable, deep exploration of the self is memorable. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/11/2019
Release date: 09/01/2019
Genre: Poetry
Hardcover - 72 pages - 978-1-950774-08-1
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