Bibliographic Details

My other tongue / Rosa Alcalá.

Author / Creator Alcalá, Rosa, author.
Edition First edition, first printing
Imprint New York : Futurepoem Books, 2017.
Description 88 pages ; 21 cm
Language English
Subject American poetry -- 21st century.
American poetry.
Format Print, Book
URL for this record
ISBN 9780996002554
Notes Includes bibliographical references.
Review by New York Times Review

Alcala's third book feels like the opposite of Kempf's first. He wrote a clear, fluent collection largely about men; she 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. Alcala'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. Her overall mood remains haltingly elegiac, with quips, false starts and white space, though she can also deploy irony to point up injustice, as in the prose poem "Voice Activation": "Luckily, 1 have no accent and you can understand perfectly what 1 am saying to you." Her circumlocutions can point back to the avant-garde community within which Alcala's early work grew, seeking a style that "isn't meant / to be sold / or bought." Elsewhere she is pellucid, as well as laconic, and might make you cry: "Three times on Saturday / 1 remember you / as dead, / mamá. / 1 reach under / my shirt / surprised / to find / the nipple dry."

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [November 12, 2017]
Review by New York Times Review