Beast Meridian is a fierce incantation, harnessing the intuition and intelligence of personae navigating a “melancholy galaxy” full of the violences of societies and families, in which the pain of the earth and the pain of the body are not separate. In languages of tenderness and weaponry, landscapes and bodyscapes, insight and foresight, talismanic memories and imaginings, Vanessa Angelica Villareal constructs layered complications to see newly into, or grieve not being able to look beyond. Far from surrender, the poems write toward a communal resilience: “entre todas las mujeres we kneel to push away the final night”—a unity among wounded women, their collective mythology infused with necessary interrogations and radiant intensity, as they (and their words) “spill & spill until we spread / like a flood.”Khadijah Queen
Vanessa Villareal’s poems are alive, haired, precise and strange with ardor, with loss, with a remembering (live and lit!) born out of the crossroads of elegy and desire. With these poems I feel I have the rare and gorgeous chance to experience a formal invention built out of urgency, and with such intimacy. Here there is a diction, a music, knived and lucid. A body, or bodies, shapeshifting across pages, possessed and dispossessing, dying-birthing-getting born, simultaneously “I” and “we”: “your black cervix my first egg drop & / so we hatched myself—“. There is such a brilliance everywhere here.Aracelis Girmay
In Beast Meridian, Vanessa Angélica Villarreal braids searing lyricism and intimate narratives into utterances and patterns that radicalize the heart and the eye. Rooted in the borderlands, Villarreal’s language—scarred but alive—confronts and refutes the violence of erasure and assimilation. ‘Every brutal abandoning’ of the self and of the flesh is rigorously and intensely rendered. Line after line shimmers with grace and fury. Vanessa Angélica Villarreal is an innovative and necessary poet. Beast Meridian is a high watermark in Latinx poetry. I will be teaching it often.Eduardo C. Corral
Vanessa Angélica Villarreal was born in the Rio Grande Valley borderlands to formerly undocumented Mexican immigrants. She is descended from Silvia, Angélica, Carmen, and other survivors of colonization. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in PBS Newshour, Poor Claudia, Apogee, Waxwing, The Wanderer, Sporklet, DIAGRAM, The Feminist Wire, and elsewhere. She has served as an editor for the Bettering American Poetry project and is a CantoMundo Fellow. She lives in Los Angeles, but her forever hometown is Houston, Texas.
Reviews and News
The editors of Noemi Press are excited to announce the winners, finalists, and semi finalists for the 2016 Noemi Press Book Award in Poetry.
Winner: Indictus by Natalie Eilbert
Finalist: Careen by Grace Shuyi Liew
We will be also publishing Gentry!fication: or the scene of the crime by Chaun Webster and A Problem and Some Space by Hannah Ensor
The Devil’s Workshop by Xavier Cavazos
Hagia Animalia by Sara Biggs Chaney
Medusa Reads La Negra’s Palm by Elizabeth Acevedo
The Leaving Impulse by Rachel Martin
Manipur by Robin McLachlen
The Historians of Redundant Moments: Novel in Poems by Nandini Dhar
Northern Ledger by Kate Partridge
Probable Garden by Bronwen Tate
Saints and Cannibals by Robert Lunday
Winter Swimmers by Carolyn DeCarlo
Woman, Yielding by Andrea Blancas Beltran
un/documented—kentucky—songs by Steven Alvarez
The editors of Noemi Press are excited to announce the winners, finalists, and semi finalists for the 2015 Noemi Press Book Award in Poetry. We received about 400 poetry submissions this year and thank all the writers who submitted for trusting us with their work.
Bone Confetti by Muriel Leung
Natality by E. G. Means
MOUTHS by Claire Marie Stancek
We will also be publishing finalist Vanessa Villarreal’s manuscript Beast Meridian in the Akrilica series.
They Go In Pairs by Samuel Ace
Arcadia, Indiana (a tragedy) by Toby Altman
You Can Take It Out by Cheryl Clark Vermeulen
Red of Split Water-A Burial Rite by Lisa Donovan
Century Worm by Todd Fredson
Actual Echo by Matthew Mahaney
A Turkish Dictionary by Andrew Wessels
Vogel describes her early experiences of reading and writing as “a bridging between [her] voice and [her] body,” as a kind of communion. “Language slowed the world for me,” she recalls, “it gave me a sense of tactility, a skin to encase my thinking.” Vogel’s visceral experience of language is palpable in Between Grammars; there is a sense of tactility ever-present. Beyond the philosophical exploration, reading this book is as much a sensory experience as an intellectual one, the text shot through with light, sound, and touch.
Armendinger is a master at using fragmented language with precise purpose. His poems experiment with language and form—this collection includes a poem delivered in the form of an instant messenger conversation, and a poem placed as a footnote within another poem—but never read as mere avant-garde posturing. Instead, Armendinger again and again finds new ways to use defamiliarized language to access the unsayable.
It’s a rare and wonderful thing to find a poet who can so powerfully, vividly, and gracefully engage with the problems of language and the world. The Ghost In Us Was Multiplying is a vital book: experimental, substantial, fragmented, unified, unsettled, and unsettling, Armendinger’s work is key reading for all those who care about what our broken words can do.
Read “Once When Light Returned After a Blackout, I Found My Face Pressed Into a Wall Asking for Help” and “Outside My Window a Tree Is Singing Flowers So I Cannot Sleep, I Cannot Sleep” at the Boston Review. Chloe Garcia Roberts’ debut book of poetry, The Reveal, will be published by Noemi Press this fall.
Danielle Vogel’s book BETWEEN GRAMMARS is forthcoming in 2015, and in this profile she shares her “holy books” including Whitman, Plath, and Woolf, among others!
At Bloom Literary Journal, you can read the poem “Casual Sex” by Brent Armendinger, whose book The Ghost In Us Was Multiplying is forthcoming in January, 2015.
Sandy Florian’s Boxing the Compass defies categorization, subverts genre, and reframes our ideas of what story and language can do—all the while remaining intensely readable. In fact, upon “finishing” the book, this reader had to read it again. Perhaps a reader doesn’t ever “finish” a book like this, preferring to keep it at hand so that he or she can pick it up on a whim and reread random passages, such as: “she // unfolds her body the same way some people unfold letters from their lovers who’ve set sail, slowly, with caution, minding the curled edges of the cracked pages, that fading blue ink of time,” or “[she] steps onto the // sidewalk turning northeast on that landmass, concrete composite of well and of shell, of hole and of bowl, of buds from that ever budding past, so buckled by history and crumpled by memory, so embedded with remnants of crocodile eyes crying crocodile tears on these crocodile days . . .”
$15 Paperback | Published 2017