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Mouthfeel Press is an independent press. We publish poetry in English and Spanish by new and established poets. We love innovative, experimental, and contemporary poetry with engaging themes such as gender, sex, culture, language, folklore, spirituality, and art.
Joe Benevento continues his insightful exploration into the depths of personal history with this chapbook of alluring poems. As each poem begins, the reader is immediately hooked by both identifying with the many archetypal experiences and rites of passage discussed, and Benevento’s ability to take those moments to unexpected places. With a veneer of homogeneity as a result of the chosen form, the poems in After strike at the very heart of what it means to look back on the past to create a map of one’s own life. The reader is left to wonder about the many people who populate these poems. Refusing to pull any punches these poems remind us our lives are a network of many people and shared experiences. This little bit of sameness and the daring truth within these poems give us all permission to start creating our own map. – Justin Evans, author of Sailing the Nameless Ship and Hobble Creek Almanac
From the moment he almost died in infancy to his final admissions about Sylvia Ramos still making meaning in his life and his unsettling pact with God, Joe Benevento’s After takes readers on a journey rich with details of growing up Italian within a diverse neighborhood in Queens, of learning to survive, of longing for the unattainable, to moving to life in the Midwest where he mostly settles down with a wife and children. His poems are often funny, moving, and always honest. Every poem title starts with “After,” and the final poem is “After All,” ultimately delivering an unforgettable story about a particular life full of personality and universal truths.-Maryfrances Wagner, Red Silk, Winner of the Thorpe Menn Book Award and Co-Editor of I-70 Review
I am thrown by Hari’s collection where the city is akimbo and cut with cactus sap, whalesong, the and father where the voice shakes with the elders drinking grog, longing for stray dogs and alleyways. In the gentle sway of a flag, Hari finds violence- because he carries a new, quiet brush of multi-currents, of multi-worlds to paint this holographic life-scape; a most rare set of poems–with jazz beat word lines, long-line wisdom and open space scenes where you can widen your eyes, scrape your hands and rush into colliding worlds, the “phosphorescence,” that is, the “flow mixed,” the “blur of it,” “the infinite capacities,” the “” of total vision. Love this read it is pushing out your green rain skin – come back with your delicious original self. Bravo, many bravos!-Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. Poet Laureate
Winner of the 2017 NACCS FOCO Poetry Book Award.
I have yet to read work, in all that addresses domestic violence and sexual assault as directly and powerfully as this new collection by Carolina Monsiváis. This work advocates for survivors and those who have tragically lost their lives in an essential poetry of witness that bursts from emergency shelters, counseling circles, funerals, and the confines of survivor report forms. Our advocate guide listens with empathy and questions the social constructs that can lead to violence against women, men, and children while probing the effectiveness of institutions and programs that serve survivors and their families. I know no other poetry like this. It leaves no stone unturned, and blazes, in each poem’s wake, several “paths of .” As a whole, the collection asks for much more than survival, it asks for answers, and it is in this inquiry where we feel the most hope.--
Like Virgil in Dante's Inferno, Monsiváis guides us through a kind of hell. A case worker's subjective observations balance the voices that Monsiváis has listened to so intently over her years as an advocate for those experiencing sexual and domestic abuse. These harrowing tales are missives against complacency—Monsiváis makes us all want to be braver than we are. In this book, women declare years of marriage as sentences served, children too soon identify as survivors, and conquest becomes a governing metaphor for these border stories. I am grateful these poems are in the world.--Connie Voisine
What you hold in your hands is far more than a book of poetry: It is - with the poet into underwater dreamscapes, thundering skies, and bodies flush with desire everywhere the lightning flash of Laura Cesarco Eglin’s words turning darkness into incandescent visions.
Seth Michelson, author of Eyes like Broken Windows
Into orange blossoms, dancing castanets, clouding sandscapes, Laura Cesarco Eglin weaves dreamy memories of a rioplatense childhood and a maturing poet’s understanding of language’s ability to make, unmake, and remake the world. While “all that remains of the sand / is the word handful,” Cesarco Eglin keeps language fresh — woodsing, outjugated, underbay—and her imaginative leaps teach us “how to live our death” and how to live with insistent longing: “Rewinding moments / in the shadow of later because / when I say enough it’s already gone.” Through Scott Spanbauer’s deft and daring translations, English speakers now have a chance to experience one of Uruguay’s loveliest emerging voices. Ron Salutsky, author of Romeo Bones
Xánath Caraza’s poems serve as a precious gift, allowing readers to honor the memory of youth taken too soon by violence. In “Bleeding Foam,” an homage to 43 missing students from Mexico, the sea holds their “silent screams,” as well as “roar their names for eternity.” also calls out the name of slain teen, Michael Brown, adeptly using repetition. The poet does not allow her readers to forget these youth in her haunting poems of remembrance. Ocelocíhuatl is a powerful voice and poetic spirit that unifies this collection. Ultimately, gorgeous nature imagery, exquisite use of colors and ability to connect with readers on a sensory level, leave us with hope.
JP Howard, Curator & Nurturer, Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon and author of SAY/MIRROR
Like the jaguar-woman, prancing between worlds, el la luz, el de la so too Xánath Caraza’s poetry and growls. It does not sleep or slumber. It is awake with intent and purpose. For no poet worth their words is ever at rest. Cuando no hay Xánath knows this. Her poetry leaps out from the inkwell, buries its inky roots in the subsoil of language. Here is a sprouting testament of survival!
Levi Romero, Author of Sagrado: A Photopoetics Across the Chicano Homeland and A Poetry of Remembrance: New and Rejected Works
Come on this journey, brave the violence in Mexico, in Bosnia, in the U.S. Don’t stop. Move through the ancient and mythical, tread the mountains and valleys of the natural world, let the seas swirl at your ankles, follow the jungle trail of the tenacious, Ocelocíhuatl, jaguar-woman, each step pulsing with the unfaltering rhythms and patterns that mark these poems by Xánath Caraza. Her words cast a spell, seep under our skin, into our bellies and hearts, remind us that poetry is how we survive, how we thrive. Donna Miscolta, Winner of the Doris Bakwin Prize for Writing by a Woman
Concerned with indigenous traditions and recent political events, Xánath Caraza’s new book, Ocelocíhuatl, is maintained in the line of poets whose thematic is social. Even if the red of blood sometimes dominates, she is a poet who writes with color, and landscapes. Caraza is the women and the ocelot, two worlds which can be joined together if, through this book, readers notably allow themselves to be taken by the hand. Luis Armenta Malpica
Aguacamino/ Waterpath by Rossy Evelin Lima
Purchase book here
“Here I came to know the cold,” Lima says in her second book of poetry with the lyrical strength that characterizes it. From verse to verse, her lyrical strength flows. This melody is nourished by the experienced gained during the rite of passage of crossing the border and the intense deep-rooted nature of the word that gives her a reason to live, a reason to write poetry. Xánath Caraza, author of Conjuro
Rossy Evelin Lima escribe con delicados trazos de agua sobre la roca. Su poesía se evapora, pero sólo para hacerse nube y cantar como lluvia. De esa manera, la poeta nos da de beber de ese extraño tiempo líquido que es el poema y nos invita a acompañarla en su camino; un camino de piedras redondeadas por la fuerza de su espíritu. Javier Tinajero Rodríguez, autor de Párpados y pájaros
La poesía de Rossy Evelin Lima se vuelve necesaria en el contexto de una mayor integración de las comunidades supranacionales, su voz lírica se nutre del In Xochitl in Cuicatl, La Flor y el Canto de los antiguos nahuas y se reconcilia de este modo con la tradición norteamericana y la mexicana de la poesía contemporánea. Aguacamino/Waterpath es un libro llamado a inaugurar una nueva línea que describe el doble e impar sentimiento de residencia "in tlalticpac" sobre la tierra, aquí, donde solo una vez se vive. Mario Bojorquez, autor de Hablar Sombras
SPLIT GEOGRAPHY by Adela Najarro
. Purchase book here.
Split Geography is a marvelous shifting between Nicaragua and the States, between the mangos and Michigan’s ice angels, between histories and national boundaries. Adela’s poems are compelling pastiches that contemplate the everyday wonders that arrive in small packages, as well as our sorrows that trumpet loudly into the future.-RICHARD BLANCO
Split Geography covers vast tracts of land and multiple countries in language that heals as it explores both internal and external rifts. Its first poem declares: “I always like to start by stating it / straight up,” and then marries many surprising images that are anything but “straight up,” to sudden, earth-shatteringly vulnerable revelations, such as “Obviously the woman I used to be was a fool / or an idiot. I don't like her.” In a later the speaker is flabbergasted that “My family, each of them with their screwed up lives, loved me / and loves me. And I can't get over it.” The vagaries of love, and the need to love oneself and others (in all their rich complexity) surface in poem after poem. The personality that emerges from this collection is funny, poignant, irascible, and above all, in love with the promise that writing can be a spiritual exercise to re-make ourselves. These are poems to live among.- DAVID A. SULLIVAN
a un paso de juárez/ one step from juárez by
"To arrive at a place where you don't know anyone and no one knows you both a liberation and a condemnation. The first thing you have to learn is how to live alone: to be your own best friend, and therefore, y own greatest threat. Solitude grants you equal measures of peace and anguish."
In one step from juárez/ a un paso de juárez, Joseph recounts his life in El Paso, Texas. Newly arrived from Colombia, Joseph is mesmerized by the monochromatic hues of the desert and two cities steeped in friendship and rich histories.
Since he washed up on shore on Ogygia, everybody wants a piece of Odysseus. In this "Richly descriptive, energetically ironic and playfully anachronistic, Johnny Payne's
VASSAL makes something ancient new again. With psychological acuity and knack for narrative that his fiction so lively, Payne exalts his epic Greek figures but also make them seem at times to be living their anger, sex, drugs, regret, fervor and violence in some sketchy suburb of Louisville. He portrays an unstable world in which gods, heroes, goddesses, and girls mistake each other's intentions, and in which chance and bad luck are just as strong as Zeus. He has created a beautiful exploration of--in Payne's own memorable words--"loopholes in the of immortality."
-- REGINALD GIBBONS
In this remarkable historiography, a society's unconscionable sparks are flung against otherwise benign, pastoral settings. And whether in a skillful
pruning of the railroad for her Scottsboro Boys myth, the incendiary detail of "A Boy Testifies," or her offering of redemption through the reincarnate spirit in "Seeing," Peggy Ann Tartt's poems will ignite reader's thoughts like a perfectly swiped match.
Woman Come Undone is a sensual exquisite journey along the Silk Road of womanhood. Here, the thoughts and feelings of various women are explored through detailed imagery to include exotic locales and use of metaphor as seen in objects and animals. This
collection is one that you will want to come back to again and again. --Sandy Benitez, Editor Flutter Poetry Journal
MFP is happy to announce the release of its first bilingual children's book, Los Lagartos de San Jacinto/ The Alligators of San Jacinto by Alejandrina Drew. This book is beautifully illustrated by artist Cesar Ivan. To purchase a copy click here.
THE GOATHERD by Larry D. Thomas
Only Larry D. Thomas could create a book of contemporary poems about Gilberto Luna, an actual farmer in the Chihuahuan Desert during the early 1900s. The Goatherd's narrative internalizes the herd's survival instincts--and his own, adapting appendages into cloven hooves, taking sustenance from the while protecting them from predators, although not from his own predation. Thomas explores the stark paradoxes of the food chain, as it once was in an earlier, more natural era. Nothing was wasted then, and the Texas Poet Laureate wastes nothing now--especially his stunning poetic precision. --Robert Bonazzi, reviewer for World Literature Today
PULP by Celina Villagarcia
Her wisdom, wit, and her rich Mexican call up, for me, more than often, a Cisneros-like voice. Her work often carries us back to both her and our , the wise women of knowing, the magic and myth of the feminine spirit which she embodies, herself, as---mother, lover (in the space of her own marriage), and wife---work pregnant with the loving of a houseful of children, at one point, arms full of the child she carries up a stairwell to sleep after a long day of learning; arms, always full of knowing. This collection is gutsy and steeped in living: sometimes a present stirring, and sometimes, a retrospective of geographies from here to there, and the varied tongues she speaks in, languages she lives among.--Marian Haddad, author of Wildflower. Stone.
Celina Villagarcía's book of poems smells of fresh earth, of baby skin, of a loved one who gives meaning to one's existence, and of oleanders, maíz, and children. Her subtle lines are a distillation of a lifetime, born in the valley and flung a thousand miles away, always searching wielding her pen. The poet knows herself vulnerable from a young age, like walking without skin, and later finds that "these words give me skin." Villagarcía's book takes us deep into the matrix of life.-- Liliana Valenzuela, author of Codex of Journeys: Bendito
Villagarcia's first book, Pulp, is in many ways a collection of love poems—love of her husband, her children, her roots. Writing about family, immediate and extended, she searches for that elusive place called home, arriving again and again in heartfelt and poignant poems that prove she is already there.-- Scott Wiggerman, author of Presence, chief editor of the Texas Poetry Calendar
These poems testify to the power of words to embody an entire world in a small space. They illuminate the distance between one’s desires and the reality of living in all kinds of borderlands. Her vision of the largeness and small satisfactions of motherhood is compelling, and the love poems for the man in her life are beautifully fresh: “My hundred years are sacred / in your pasture.” The best of these are so passionate they feel like incantations.-- Mariana Aitches, author of Fishing for Light and Ours is a Flower
la / What the Tide Brings by Xánath Caraza.
Foreword by Norma Elia Cantú
Xánath Caraza's book of fiction, Lo la /What the Tide Brings is a poetic song narrative that speaks of love and deep loss. These photographic narrative portraits contain jubilant, brooding, sensual characters woven within deftly-crafted rich descriptions of land and atmosphere: the way humid air can be so thick, the sounds of rain on foliage.
Amelia María de la Luz Montes, for La Bloga, Director of The Institute for Ethnic Studies, University of Lincoln-Nebraska.
This debut collection is amazing. The finesse of the storytelling is a pleasure on every page. The importance of immigrant issues becomes not a political statement so much as an epic story of all peoples’ survival.
Denise Low, author of Natural Theologies: Essays About Literature of the Middle West, 2007-09 Kansas Poet Laureate
These stories, linked by deep currents of yearning and loss will flow into your heart. Deceptively direct, wonderfully understated, and filled with beautiful imagery—there is talent in Xánath Caraza's short stories collection.
Lucrecia Guerrero, author of Tree of Sighs, winner of the Premio Aztlán Literary Award
A synthesis of Caraza’s short stories would need to address the complex experience that separates humanity from love and forces it, by various means, towards the boundaries of death. In spite of that experience and uprooting forces, such as modern mass migrations, colonial slavery, state terrorism, targeted or random violence, and even the challenge of the blank page and the clash between the writer and her characters, in Xánath Caraza’s short stories, the dialectic between love and death manifests itself by means of a sublime beauty of language, form and structure...
Carlos Parada Ayala, author of La luz de la /The Light of the Storm
Cartas abiertas desde las tumbas andinas by Emilia Chuquin
Emilia Chuquin logra brindarnos versos rítmicos y luminosos que están llenos de amor que siente por sus raíces. Su lenguaje rico en metáforas, símbolos, irreverencias y referencias tanto míticas como contemporáneas logra crear un puente entre el corazón andino con lo del lector. La suya es una de las plumas más conectadas al mundo ancestral indígena en vías de desaparecer. En estos poemas se encuentra una consciencia clara de las discriminaciones, adversidades e injusticias, las cuales todavía están muy presentes hostigando a la cultura indígena y al idioma Runashimi (quichua). Sin embargo tenemos aquí una visión valiente y bella de este mundo por el que la poeta lucha con elocuencia y amor.--Victoria West
, UCLA Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Hummingbird Mind by Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick.
Reading Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick's poems is like finding yourself alone on the Texas plains listening to the wind purse and hum across the distant expanse. There's a flutter, a persistent echo that guides you, unexpectedly, toward moments of clarity and release: "Search out stars, a wheeling compass, / tumbling happens. I want weightlessness like that." Hardwick doesn't waste time building tension for but confidently---and keenly---lets each line play out whatever dynamite it holds. From the opening page, she tells us, "At the root of everything there's violence. / Like drilling for oil," and by the end of Hummingbird Mind we see not only the only pain we inflict on ourselves but also the wonder. The choice in these pages isn't how to manage our ills and loneliness, but what to do as we move through the wastelands in search of the "origin of [our] ache." --Jeff Simpson, author of Vertical Hold
This is a book that words like seeds in the breach of sense and language, body and place, monument and ruin, self and nation. "There is material here that will start the rebuilding," Gabe Gómez assures us, and that material is found in the "the foreign/ body," the "broken English of immigrants," a "patois," and in "our mother tongue," where "a kind of melody/stifled by letters" tries to "sound out the new world." These seeds, "find patterns/ in the mayhem/ from patterns in their flight." The Seed Bank offers hope, then, in the very materials discarded, splintered, unvalued, forgotten in the wake of natural disaster or assimilation or Monsanto: what each of us holds in our hands, our ancient seeds, our memories and nouns, our desires and verbs, our individual and hybrid voices, which can take root anywhere and disrupt the order with a field of wildflowers. We need this book to remind us, again and again, of our strength, our flexible syntax, our "hard breath blooming" against a grammar of destruction. --Rosa Alcalá, author of Undocumentaries
and The Lust of Unsentimental Waters
Killing Current by John Pluecker. Chapbook. Buy Now.
"Can you bathe in the space between these thick lines segmented as if worms climbing down the remains of fields or bandages criss-cross in patterned bliss," writes John Pluecker in his debut chapbook collection of "Killing Current". Pluecker dwells in a space of language and terrain explored and documented by Spanish explorers in what is now the state of Texas. He appropriate texts and maps to create a new interpretation of exploration in a language that dissects and breaks linear history.
"A Mex-Tex, border-crosser, Liliana Valenzuela's poetry is best appreciated aloud. Poetry is her instrument, and the songs Valenzuela plucks are from her voyage beyond borders, a vantage point called Nepantla, eternally a visitor from the land in-between, even at home. Lyrical, here is a woman's voice uncensored." -Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street, Woman Hollering Creek, Caramelo
"Word by word, line by line, Codex of entrances with its crisp rhythms echoing in the heart and transfixes with its luminous images vibrating on the page. Marvelously spare, and full of light and shadow, each poem is like a tiny x-ray of the soul capturing so much of what’s not seen by the naked eye underneath the temporal flesh."
-Richard Blanco, author of Looking for The Gulf Motel
"Sunflower Cantos feels like an ecstatic as if this poet had conjured our ancient, sacred wordhoard. These are stunning, mysterious poems." -Jennifer Clement, founder of The San Miguel Poetry Week, author of Newton's Sailor, The Next Stranger
"Sunflower Cantos is a book of poems as horoscopes and spells, prayers and as if the skeleton woman had stepped out of Native American pictographs and the Hanged Man left the Tarot deck to jazz along alienated highways...Robin has let a deep voice through her like nothing else in the world." --Tony Barnstone, author of Tongue of War: From Pearl Harbor to Nagasaki, Sad Jazz: Sonnets
Spider Road by Amalio Madueño. Buy Now. " poetry is made for the mouth, not only because it is rooted in the oral traditions of Mexican and Indigenous American cultures, but also because it has flowered as part of the Jazz-influenced, spoken word and performance poetry of the late 20th and 21st century. When I I smell and juniper, and I think in three languages...." -- Donna Snyder, Founder of Tumblewords Project, author of I Am South Hymnal by Linda Ravenswood. Buy now "In Hymnal, Linda Ravenswood contemplates subject matter that is as disquieting as it is beautiful. I understand, as do you that we live in a world of superlatives, hers is an incredible book."
Geoffrey Gatza, Publisher, BlazeVOX Books
Entre la claridad by Elisa A. Garza. Buy now. "In Entre Elisa A. Garza continues her clear, intelligent exploration of Mexican-American identity with poems of family, romance, female power, and landscape. Interweaving English and Spanish, she constructs a spiritual self on the frontier, aware of honoring her origins but blazing a new trail...."--Karen Braucher
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Post Pardon by Arisa White. Purchase your copy. Read more.
"An astonishing lyricism accompanies the intuitive narrative that weaves throughout Arisa White’s Post Pardon. This stunning collection of poems arranges and deranges the post-partum experience, allowing the reader to witness its speaker grieve and celebrate the birth of a son who is at once ghost child and literal child. I am so very taken by the formal strategies that White ingeniously incorporates to redirect every stage of the poem’s experience, just as I am utterly persuaded by how her syntax creates a remarkable fluidity that results in the undeniable tonal achievement of the collection as a whole. In short, the poems in this sequence are, quite frankly, brilliant. Harrowing to be sure, image after image, Post Pardon is a breathtaking collection, and, as such, introduces Arisa White as a major new talent." Cate Marvin
passwords_ by Juan Manuel Portillo. Available now. Limited Edition. Read more.
"Portillo transforma la inmediatez del correo electrónico en la personalidad silenciosa del receptor que genera los mensajes. A través de passwords_ se revela una “voz” excluida, el silencio creador de una profunda presencia. En la superficie, respuestas con enigma por dentro; en totalidad la entrega personal de códigos que manifiestan la percepción de momentos particulares del ser humano ligado –lenta, angustiante y amorosamente- a nuestra vertiginosa realidad." Dolores Dorantes