Winner of the Berkshire Prize.
“Formally vibrant, Iliana Rocha imagines and reimagines the deaths of the forgotten, Inocencio Rodriguez, AKA John Doe. Through multiple tellings and retellings, the author attempts to perform last rites for those who have received no ceremony. Indeed, the unceremonious deaths of the innocents and of innocence make for a poignant obsession here in a docupoetic kaleidoscope where found knowledge turns and churns into art, magnificent, devastating, and long-lasting. I am transfixed by the way that lyric and narrative are woven into this bold and elegiac tapestry that touches, not only on violent flashpoints but most essentially on the revenants that speak, long after loss, to the resounding failures of our humanity. This is an exquisite book.” — from the Judge’s Citation by Oliver de la Paz
Iliana Rocha is the 2019 winner of the Berkshire Prize for a First or Second Book of Poetry for her newest collection, The Many Deaths of Inocencio Rodriguez, forthcoming from Tupelo Press. Karankawa, her debut, won the 2014 AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015).
The recipient of a 2020 CantoMundo fellowship and 2019 MacDowell Colony fellowship, she has had work featured in the Best New Poets 2014 anthology, as well as Oxford American, The Nation, Virginia Quarterly Review, Latin American Literature Today, RHINO, Blackbird, and West Branch, among others, and she serves as Poetry Co-Editor for Waxwing Literary Journal. She earned her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from Western Michigan University and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Her three chihuahuas Nilla, Beans, and Migo are the loves of her life.