VUELTA is a long poem on a quest to recover the body through myth & memory, a reckoning with colonization & the return to our Pachamama. Vuelta to revolt, to return, to revoltijo, to revolución, to transform. It is a journey of tongue & breath that asks What's life through the mouth of the queer brown cuerpo. Vuelta insists that our bodies are a walking love language miraculously unearthing the beginning & the collapse of time where we allow ourselves to begin again in the same way the monarch continues her journey evolving over & over again.
“What does it mean to be ‘proving poetry to one another’? What to find skin you recognize, skin that smells of citrus? Lourdes Figueroa is a poem weaver of the highest order. These words pant and breathe. These poems are some birds, some kisses, some city buses. These poems are the product of a muscular and questing curiosity. Enter and be changed.” —K. Shuck, 7th Poet Laureate of San Francisco
“This collection will break you apart in a soft palm, scatter you on the breeze slipping across damp skin, return you to yourself with a shuddering breath. Here is the body, each clamorous cell humming and hungry. Here are words that wail and whisper, that caress, that ring a challenge off every sharp edge. Here is the promise/audacity of petals opening, a broken heart beating, wings taking flight. Above all, here is love.” —J. Worthen
“Lourdes Figueroa's Vuelta is full of incandescent writing that burns the vapor off words, leaving only what is essential behind. Here we read of queer love and desire, of coming of age, and of migration, both as a global phenomenon demonstrated by the figure of the monarch butterfly and as the far more personal, localized story of a Mexican girl in Idaho re/claiming American identity through, among other things, a fascination with baseball. Language, too, becomes part of the story, in the sense of both bilingual existence and the power of saying to break the fourth wall. As Figueroa writes, ‘but we all did it / as we proved / poetry to each other / the verb collapsing / into nothing / & everything / shining / like a mirage.’” —Jenny Drai, author of The History Worker
“Reading Vuelta is playing baseball in fields where wilderness is beneath every step and intertwined in each breath. In the planting, in the harvest and the cityscapes far beyond love is made, false selves undone, reunification occurs with the forgotten angels.” —Monica Zarazua, author of Slide
“This is an impressive and breathtaking gathering of poems. The work left me feeling powerful, inspired and a little salty and sweaty, which is one of my favorite ways to be! The imagery left blossoms of envy all over my mouth, green flowers for how jealous I am of Lourdes Figueroa’s talent as a writer. Every part of the worlds that Figueroa creates in this book is a poem, from the ground, to the seagulls, to a locker room, to the weight of lust and beauty she fiercely crafts into a very moving experience. This book has a heart beat, Lourdes Figueroa shows you that, then surprises you with the humor. Figureroa’s book made me cry one moment, and then leap up off my couch screaming ‘to grab my nalgas ,means your truth!’ YES! Which is one of my many favorite lines in the book. Part call to action, part power love song to a todas las marimachas, you gotta read this book!” —Baruch Porras-Hernandez, author of I Miss You, Delicate
“In Vuelta , Lourdes Figueroa unfurls the sensuality of revolt, of what it means to turn and return to love as a devout prayer/poem/an intimate saunter into a new city. Here, the flowers bloom, and ‘the long poem is nothing but the weeping of a prayer.’ The body is not a body, but the topography of memory for exploration between lovers. Spanish and English bind around Americana roots as the testament of where survival becomes transcendence, of where ‘la cicatriz es nuestra lengua’/the scar is our tongue. Vuelta is an incredible amorous force unabashedly stamped–– by ‘ESA LESBIANA.’ Pouring sensuality into a steaming pot of boiling floral petals, Lourdes Figueroa is that new/queer/Latinx/Chingona/ poet to be reckoned with, to have us all walk away with ‘how love walks on two feet.’” —Thea Matthews, author of Unearth [The Flowers]
“What does it mean to write about Love at the end of the world? What honeyed worlds of resilience emerge at the cusp of wind & spit where memoria y sueños are most tender and human? Figueroa dreams vivid Brown visions reclaiming Americana and illuminating a Queer futurity of fierce softness, salted desire, and cosmically tender Love. Vuelta is a vital and volant hymnal of migrating generational energies surviving making el mundo dar vueltas —this collection asks its reader to become a colibri and remember ‘the dream is always/ bursting / into something else.’” —Angel Dominguez, author of Desgraciado (the collected letters)
“Lourdes Figueroa’s Vuelta inhales the ecstatic and exhales the erotic. In these poems where ‘the dream is always/ bursting/ into something else,’ words burst into breath, and wonder into lust. There’s a headiness in these poems’ music and dreamscapes, yet readers are always called back by the full flesh and love ‘stink’ of the body: ‘aquí besitos on your cutis’. Figueroa is a poet of duendes, of secrets hidden in mixed tongues, of many returns. These poems remind us of our transience & transcendence, of homes where ‘we found ourselves/ at the cusp of wind & spit/ the awning of our ribcage/ shaped like a media naranja…’” —Karen Llagas, author of ALL OF US ARE CLEAVED
“While rooted in the poet’s vivid experiences of places such as Yolo county (where she grew up in a family of farmworkers) and San Francisco, Vuelta also embodies a transcendent mythopoetic force and prophetic multilingual voice. Set against the backdrop of the world’s blade, its colonial violence against migrants, against women, against the earth itself, here’s a fierce, cosmic centering of love, particularly of queer, brown love, of revolutionary luminous beauty and erotic power. The Spanish expression dar a luz comes to mind: there’s an incantatory momentum, an orality to Figueroa’s lines which demand to be read aloud, unfolding in real time unlike ambered, chiseled constructions, rendering the impression of a world birthed anew.” —Florencia Milito, author of Ituzaingó: Exiles & Reveries exilios y ensueños
“Una poeta profeta that speaks through a yellow mirror upon which antepasados en forma de marisposas alight and whose voice gives the land's own erotic desire her shape. Memory throbs as brown nipple, as tongue aching for the salt of a lover's neck; blossoms as cempaxuchíl. In your hands, these poems bleed the acute longing fragrance of almendra, with the knowing grit of that very Bay Area gesture of passing the joint back and forth silently with your lover. What can I say? These are some sexy, sexy poems.” —Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta, author of La Movida
“Lourdes Figueroa takes us on a vuelta into the slippery dreamspace of the female body —a place of desire and sanctuary. Yet she does not turn us away from visceral struggle. Let her guide you through this vuelta of skin and sangre, flowers and colibrís, palabras in the mouth and the silences between them, as you enter into ancestral wisdom that flows from one body to another. Vuelta will take you out of your body and deep inside it at the same time.” —Tehmina Khan, poet & professor
“The deep breaths y tender palabras in “Vuelta ” show us the profundo connection that brown bodies share with the Earth whenever LOVE is involved…Lourdes’ poesia is pura tierra mojada y divina marimacha Amore…this poesia is the vibrating huesos of LOVE and the perfect,delicate visitacion of the moth y Colibri into our hearts.” —Josiah Luis Alderete, author of baby axolotls y old pochos
“Vast, intimate, erotic, brutal—in Vuelta , Lourdes Figueroa embraces an embodied spirituality that shows us what we need to survive our lost age. This gorgeous book of poetry resonates like a healing incantation. I long to read it over and over again.” —Dodie Bellamy
Poetry. Latinx Studies.
Lourdes Figueroa is an oral poet. Her poems are a dialogue of her lived experience when her family worked in el azadón in Yolo County. The words el azadón are used by the ones who work in the fields - the work of tilling the soil under the blistering sun. She is the author of the chapbooks yolotl and Ruidos = To Learn Speak, completed during her Alley Cat Books Residency. She received her MFA in Poetry at the University of San Francisco. She is a recipient of the 2021 Nomadic Press Literary Award in Poetry selected by emeritus poet Laureate Kim Shuck. She works and lives in Oakland with her wife, filmmaker, Peggy Peralta. Together in July of 2020 they launched Bilbil Projects, a space where poem & film come together. Lourdes is a native of limbo nation. Lourdes continues to believe in your lung and your throat.