Each and Her
In 2004 twenty-eight women and young girls were murdered in Ciudad Juárez and the surrounding areas. The tragedy escalated to fifty-eight murders in 2006, then again to eighty-six in 2008, and current estimates top four hundred deaths. Now poet Valerie Martínez offers a poetic exploration of these events, pushing boundaries--stylistically and artistically--with vivid poems that contextualize femicide.
Martínez departs from traditional narrative to reveal the hidden effects and outcomes of the horrific and heart-wrenching cases of femicide. These poems--lyric fragments and prose passages that form a collage--have an intricate relation to one another, creating a complex literary quilt that feels like it can be read from the beginning, the end, or anywhere in between. Martínez is personally invested in the topic, evoking the loss of her sister, and Each and Her emerges as a biography of sorts and a compelling homage to all those who have suffered. Other authors may elaborate on or investigate this topic, but Martínez humanizes it by including names, quotations, realistic details, and stark imagery.
The women of Juárez, like other women around the world, are ravaged by inequality, discontinuity, politics, and economic plagues that contribute to gender violence. Martínez offers us a poignant and alarming glance into another world with these never-before-told stories. Her refreshing and explosive voice will keep readers transfixed and intrigued about these events and emotions--removed from us and yet so close to the heart.
'Martínez's Each and Her is a major achievement. Rose and rot, want and greed, empires and their myths: all point to the murders of many young women in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, and every one of us is implicated.' --Maurice Kilwein Guevara, author of POEMA
'Here is understated yet seething work that manages to be both public and private--all of it holding together in this fully achieved book-length poem.' --Francisco Aragón, editor of The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry
'They were roses, those tender girls broken against the edge of the border between Mexico and the U.S. They were our sisters, our daughters, our nieces, granddaughters; they are us. Each word in Valerie Martínez's elegant lament is planted with urgent purpose. Each word is watered with grief. Each flower of a girl is absolutely particular in the field of flowers and blood. There can be no more silence. These poems make an opening in the pathway for justice.' --Joy Harjo, poet, musician, performer, and playwright
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