Poetry. "SWOLE full y’all—of what flotsam language is when time comes to name the wrongs befalling (some of) us. A songbook of catastrophes—these, big as bodies, small as cities—Marchan’s reeling debut is the real thing. She washed her lines in Katrina’s filthy water till they smeared into gendercrit mondegreens, broad dialects, Yung Crank’s crunk-ass barz, and syntax that’s at once saturated and eroded. Reckoning the wreckage, she writes: 'after the rain has left my room coldish / … I light / candles makes me feel / oceanic or just salty'—vast and pissed, deep and caustic, SWOLE near bursts with poetry."—Douglas Kearney
"Against the impulse to 'draw lines as a kind of forgetting,' Jerika Marchan’s SWOLE comes 'a-knockin' just in the nick of time. In the tradition that includes the work of C.D. Wright, Myung Mi Kim and NourbeSe Philip, this is a book we’ve been waiting for: the one in which the catastrophe is on-going, beginning again and again in the speaker who is also a listener, who brings together (in a dialogic dance mix), a history of responsive, hopeful and hopeless, gestures, moving us deep into the embodied, simultaneous time of the aftermath in which what happened goes on overflowing whatever walls were put in place to hold it back. The famous formulation about time ('you can’t step in the same river twice') is undone here: the poet makes it clear that to be human is to be humid, and that (as the waters keep rising), we don’t get to get out of the river. Built 'to accommodate the flood,' Jericka Marchan’s first book is a conduit to the wide-open living we all need to do: dive in, swallow, swell. "—Laura Mullen
"How does one survive a disaster of such magnitude that it uproots a culture, a history, a life? Jerika Marchan's SWOLE helicopters over the breached levee and breakwater, as roofs rip and fly like paper over her home city, in the midst of Hurricane Katrina. This is not a past. It is a present of immense proportion, and Marchan's lyric gift lifts us right into the eye of the storm. This is poetry of unimaginable strength and deliverance."—D. A. Powell
"Jerika Marchan’s SWOLE is both chronicle and canticle of Katrina: choral and various, silty and loamy, light-throated and dark-hued. Her multivocal rendering recalls Kamau Brathwaite’s Tempest-driven ‘video style’; like Brathwaite, she spins a shipwrecked archive of a historical catastrophe threaded with so many other submerged (yet rising) voices. A textured and haunting debut."—Joyelle McSweeney
Jerika Marchan was born in Manila, Philippines and raised in the American South. A graduate of Louisiana State University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she lives in New Orleans. SWOLE (Futurepoem, 2018) is her first book.
Author City: NEW ORLEANS, LA USA