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A searingly sociopolitical English-language poetry from award-winning Venezuelan poet Oriette D'Angelo, translated by Lupita Eyde-Tucker.
At once image-rich, lyrical, and searingly sociopolitical, HOMELAND OF SWARMS (Cardiopatías) is Venezuelan poet Oriette D’Angelo’s debut poetry collection in English, translated from the Spanish by Lupita Eyde-Tucker. In her unrelenting, charged poetry, D’Angelo reveals how the diseases and dis-eases of a fraught state infect not only the body politic but also the individual bodies of the citizenry. While the book weaves a tapestry of pain caused by the ills of corruption, scarcity, crime, inflation, and poverty in contemporary Venezuela, it also ponders how individuals can confound societal cancers or wage a worthy struggle against the afflictions—both real and metaphorical—that emanate from the heart of a country to infect, affect, and scar the populace. And yet, HOMELAND OF SWARMS imbues the struggle with a sense of hope and an abiding will to survive despite the odds. Lupita Eyde-Tucker specifically sought politically motivated poetry from underrepresented countries like Venezuela, and she renders D’Angelo’s poetry into English with poise and panache. Time and again, Homeland of Swarms blends memory and imagery to draw us into the exigencies and emergencies of contemporary Venezuela and transform us, for, according to D’Angelo, “This book was born from the need to name the pain and the disease from the outside, assuming that the weight of our context affects our bodies.”
Poetry. Latinx Studies.
“The diseased body, the diseased state, the diseased poem even. This book is about sickness and pathology but it is also about what happens when being alive is itself a crisis, a crisis with no time frame, with no ending. It’s about what happens to the disease and the words we use to depict the disease when we cannot emerge from the emergency. HOMELAND OF SWARMS, Oriette D’Angelo’s debut book in English, translated sharply by Lupita Eyde-Tucker, finds a poetry for so many types of illness: the illness of identity, bureaucracy, citizenry, poverty, violence and at the same time the illness of the actual body. The poetry, then, of 'a country is in ruins,' depicts both the ruined-ness while perhaps positing an aesthetics of survival. Homeland of Swarms is an exciting new book to navigate the contemporary nightmares of the Americas.”
“'Caracas,' writes Oriette D’Angelo, 'is a woman with a chest full of bullets.' In this urgent collection, at once political and highly personal, D’Angelo brings together body and country: her own female body and her Venezuelan homeland under the abusive yoke of men like Hugo Chavez. These poems, in Lupita Eyde-Tucker’s poetically alert translations, feel both like denunciations of Venezuela’s twenty-first-century leadership, which has reduced a once-wealthy nation to shambles, and also like elegies for all that has been needlessly destroyed or killed or lost: 'it’s the ashes / that remind you of my name.'”
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Oriette D'Angelo is a Venezuelan poet currently living in the United States. She is the author of two collections and two chapbooks. Her first collection, Cardiopatías, won a first book prize in Venezuela. The poems in Cardiopatías were written between the years 2011 and 2014-a time of great upheaval in Venezuela. At the time, D'Angelo was a law student while also writing poetry. When D'Angelo was 21 years old, through her poetry, she began to explore the body and the city as two overlapping topics. D'Angelo experienced firsthand the slow devastation of her country under the government of Hugo Chávez, who led the country to a condition of hunger, poverty, unemployment, and violence. Her poems, without naming names, D'Angelo likens these conditions to a heart disease that destabilizes everything. Cardiopatías explores how it is to live under a repressive government that dictates how people have to live, and it explores how the body attempts to survive under that repression. After working on the manuscript for two years, she sent the book to the Emerging Writers Prize granted by Monte Avila Editores, winning first place, which led to the publication of the book. Shortly after publication she left Venezuela and has not been able to return. D'Angelo emigrated to the US in 2015 to complete an MA in Digital Media at DePaul University, then completed an MFA in Spanish Creative Writing from the University of Iowa. She is currently a PhD candidate in Spanish Literature at the University of Iowa.
Lupita Eyde-Tucker writes and translates poetry in English and Spanish. A native of New Jersey, she moved to Guayaquil, Ecuador at the age of twelve, where she fell in love with poetry in Spanish. She's the winner of the 2021 Unbound Emerging Poet Prize, and her poems have recently appeared in Women's Voices for Change, Yemassee, Rattle, Night Heron Barks, McNeese Review, Jet Fuel Review, Cortland Review, Ninth Letter, and American Life in Poetry. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize four times, Eyde-Tucker holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Florida. Eyde-Tucker was named a Best New Poet of 2022, and is the recipient of a Fellowship from Vermont Studio Center as well as institutional support from New York State Summer Writers Institute, Kentucky Women Writers Conference, and Bread Loaf Writers Conferences.