Swallows: a chapbook

In Swallows,  we are witness to family mythologies, secrets, and hauntings. The poems take you on a family’s journey from Mexico to Los Angeles—Loveland Street is a place where dreams happen, are deferred, or are swallowed whole, and each family member grapples with his or her displacement and sense of purpose in the here and now. – Arisa White

Praise for Swallows

“The loss of a sibling frames the devastatingly beautiful collection, Swallows. ‘Vickie’ explains that she is ‘named after a ghost for whom our mother makes birthday cakes,’ and so this name and every word and image in these poems are infused with the struggle between leaving and living, the ghostly and the real. The concern to keep things ‘still alive’ extends to a broccoli-eating bunny and $5 carnations. Vértiz’s poems— in genuine details like the mother who has ‘cut her hair, left it with the Virgen atop Evergreen Cemetery/Never let it grow long again’— brilliantly reveal the heartbreaking truth that our dead never completely leave, but live on in our names and in our imaginations.”

Javier O. Huerta, author of American Copia: An Immigrant Epic and Some Clarifications y Otros Poemas

“Vértiz possesses a voice of sass and realness, a poetic eloquence that captures the point of view of a young woman coming into her own. Structurally rendered with enjambed lines, Swallows conveys urgency, a hunger, a force that needs to be taken in and consumed, with breath to spare, the reader must trust the Spanish and English rhythms of a gregarious narrator who, throughout her various transformations, recognizes we must find the truth with our eyes and heart, because ‘you need both to see.'”

Arisa White, author of A Penny Saved and Hurrah’s Nest

Swallows invites and allures. With an uncanny honesty and lyrical sensibility, Vickie Vértiz takes the reader into the intimate, humorous, and vibrant collage of an untold, bilingual, Mexican-American experience in Los Angeles. This work is daring and startlingly powerful.”
Karla Díaz, author, curator, and co-founder of Slanguage Art Collective

Book cover design: Kenji Liu

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