'La Treintena' 2022: 30+ Books of Latinx Poetry
THE PEN TEN: AN INTERVIEW WITH MONCHO ALVARADO
Brooklyn Museum's first Saturdays :Our Historias Are Many.
Saturnalia Book Prize winner 2020
Greyhound Americans By Moncho Ollin Alvarado
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Dazzlingly queer, inclusive, celestial, with indigenous ancestral heart, Greyhound Americans, by award winning poet Moncho Alvarado, confronts a family history of borderland politics by discovering a legacy of violence, grief, trauma, and survival. Through poems that have an unmistakable spirit, tenderness, intimacy, and humility. These poems' persistent resilience creates a constellation of songs, food, flowers, family, community, and trans joy, that, by the end, wants you to feel loved, nourished, and wants you to remember to say, I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive.
Greyhound Americans traverses a childhood and adolescence filled with loss, love, and complex exploration of self-hood and history. Citizenry and humanity are at the heart of this collection as it summons a most powerful animal of liberation riding on the wings of ancestry. Greyhound Americans continually confronts the limits and limitlessness of a body at risk and in flight as it asserts, “a familiar beautiful, inside us sings.” This is a poetry that questions language’s potential: what it can contain or possibly free. Greyhound Americans is a stunning debut from a fearless and notable new voice.
The lucid, tender sense of Moncho Alvarado's work astonishes me into a listening and strangeness so profound that I am reoriented by it. Such work undoes the hem, speaks with spirit, makes an opening in the language for the shape of my (one's) thought to shift like cloud, vulnerable to other, to wind, to touch. With a presence of feeling, Moncho also writes straight to the bone of a history by way of what is often considered periphery (the weather, the architecture of a home, the grease). From the Border Walls poems to the section entitled Greyhound Americans, one senses a poetics of movement inherited by that which is fleeting, porous, and plural.
– aracelis girmay
Greyhound Americans begins with an invocation to the universe: “speak my name // break me open // with all that sound,” and the universe responds, unleashing a voice, both urgent and tender, in poems that enact complexity while staying true to love. We experience epistolary poems, often addressed “Dear Amá,” and portraits that shift focus from the poet/speaker to family members, foregrounding the holiness in work, in food, in disappearance, violence, grief, trauma, and the survival of family connection. Greyhound Americans is brilliantly queer, inclusive, cosmic, and compassionate: “here, how all things tend to love the same: without the weight of ideology.” These poems gleam like the stars that they reference: “splendor the stars, they give themselves / unconditionally…” When I arrived at the end of this collection I felt fed, taught, met. Even loved.