Poetry. California Interest. Latino/Latina Studies. 2014 Grand Prize Winner for Poetry, Willow Books Literature Awards. "This isn't just a scientific question, but a poetic one: How does the body make sense of data? IMAGINARY ANIMAL is a compendium of lyric fragments of memory, fact, desire, the sensual and the sensory. While we're conditioned to distort or completely tune out the role of immigrant workers in the United States, the untitled lyrics of IMAGINARY ANIMAL are precisely calibrated to recognize and meditate upon a nations laborers. The poems are energized by voice, perspective and consciousness. which are constantly shifting and transforming. While America, with its terabytes-per-second flow of information, largely constructs a single narrative of immigrant workers, this book stitches together a very sophisticated portrait — juxtaposing the public and the private, the imperative and the interrogative. There are beautiful, subtle recurrences of deployment (military perhaps), directions on how to reap vegetables, border crossing — that provide a kind of cinematic metronome to the poems. They anchor the dream of the IMAGINARY ANIMAL. The title comes from the Raúl Zurita epigraph: 'Hoy laceamos este animal imaginario / que correteaba por el color blanco' or 'Today we tie up this IMAGINARY ANIMAL / that ran freely through the color white.' The Animal is the human; and the imaginary of the title is the American Imaginary. This is an ambitious and loving attempt to make us see both with profound complexity and a greater sense of justice."—Patrick Rosal
Rachelle Escamilla is a Chicana poet from the Central Coast of California. Rachelle's award winning first book of poetry, IMAGINARY ANIMAL (Willow Books, 2015/ 2022), is now available as a 2nd edition with a foreword written by Chicano poet Manuel Paul López. Escamilla is the founder of a number of creative writing and poetry programs in the US and China; was the producer and host of the longest running poetry radio show in the US; and was a visiting scholar at the Library of Congress, Hispanic Division where her poetry was recorded for Palabra the library's audio archive and her article, Searching for my Family, about her grandfather's testimony to Congress in 1969 about the working conditions for migrant workers was published by the Library of Congress. Rachelle teaches Contemporary Chincanx/Latinx poetry and Creative Writing Workshops, manages Social Media and Marketing for Philip Glass Days and Nights Festival and works as a model and actress.