Poetry. Latinx Studies. Women's Studies. Emmy Pérez sings the borderlands between America and Mexico, a contested land where identity and nationality are under constant surveillance. Her poetry forces the reader to feel the persons who live in those lands. In poems that follow the currents of the Rio Grande, she re-immerses readers in the waters where we all developed, fills our senses with the scent of blooming roses, of burning mesquite, and crashes us into the barriers erected to prevent the development of cross-border relationships. Reading Pérez ignites the desire to experience the heat and the sere landscape, and generates anger at the destruction of all that flourishes there.
"Emmy Pérez's poems are elegantly political, never polemical. They discover the beauty in revolution without romanticizing its hardships. From the first moment I encountered her poems, I knew I was meeting a singular voice—one that can find lyricism in struggle, dignity in injustice. Her voice sings of landscape and longing with deftness of image and diction. What a welcome debut."—Allison Joseph
"The new generation of Latina poets will be noted for the work of writers such as Emmy Pérez. Her poems are houses of light, reminding us that family and culture survive the political realities and darkness of our time."—Ray Gonzalez, The Bloomsbury Review
"The poetry of Emmy Pérez celebrates and grieves borders, the division between countries, between generations, between poverty and sustenance. Pérez's precise and soulful language erases boundaries. Everything is given reverence, and she asks, alway, how she can honor what is lost... Two languages are barely enough to name her world."—Mary Jane Nealon
"The people and ghosts who populate SOLSTICE define place by bridging and haunting the geography... Pérez creates geography through an exquisite attention to the natural surroundings... Within the descriptions of the desert, Pérez evokes lyric intensity through her surprising use of line-break... Not only does Pérez have an impeccable eye for the imagistic moment, but she also weaves these images into complex prosodic tension."—Craig Santos Perez, Rattle
C. St. Pérez @ Rattle
Emmy Pérez, Texas Poet Laureate 2020, has lived in the Texas borderlands for the past 19 years, the first six reconnecting with her family history in Ysleta/El Paso and then moving several hundred miles east to the Rio Grande Valley, where she has lived in McAllen for the past 13 years. Originally from Santa Ana, California, she is a graduate of Columbia University (MFA) and the University of Southern California (BA). She is the author of the poetry collections SOLSTICE (Swan Scythe Press, 2020), With the River on Our Face (University of Arizona Press), and is currently working on a third collection.Author City: MCALLEN, TX USA