Cover Art: Los Jaichackers (Julio Cesar Morales and Eamon Ore-Giron)
Cover & Interior Design: Alban Fischer
Paperback 82 pages
April 2019, ISBN 978-1-936919-67-3
About Rodney Gomez
Rodney Gomez is the author of Ceremony of Sand (YesYes Books, 2019), Citizens of the Mausoleum (Sundress Publications, 2018), and three chapbooks. His work appears in Poetry, Poetry Northwest, The Gettysburg Review, Blackbird, Denver Quarterly, Pleiades, and other journals. He is the recipient of the Drinking Gourd Prize from Northwestern University, the Rhino Editors’ Prize, the Orison Anthology Award, and the Gloria Anzaldúa Poetry Prize. He is the son of migrant farm workers and the first in his family to attend college. A proud member of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop and the Chocholichex writing collective, he earned a BA from Yale, an MA in philosophy from Arizona State University, and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Texas-Pan American. He edits Our Serpents’ Tongue, a chapbook accompanying El Retorno, an annual symposium honoring Gloria Anzaldúa. He is an editor at Latino Book Review and works at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. In 2020 he will serve as the Poet Laureate of the city of McAllen, Texas.
Ceremony of Sand by Rodney Gomez (Digital)
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About Ceremony of Sand
Set along the U.S.-Mexican border, Ceremony of Sand is an examination of hiddenness, of those things the borderlands want kept secret, of the banal violence that is both internally created and forced upon it. The collection exposes the futility of naming the borderlands as one particular type of place and tackles the complexity of its inhabitants, their contradictions, their language, and their failures. In poems both fatalistic and deeply hopeful, Ceremony of Sand serves as witness as it also addresses the complexity of developing a language of unique personhood while living inside a culture that expects recapitulation of its own aesthetics and beliefs.
The remarkable vision of Rodney Gomez takes us on a necessary journey into the knowledge of the histories that wound us, and the cultural legacies that ultimately save us. Thriving with a pre-Columbian past and a politicized present, strumming to the tunes of Mexican folklore and pocho playlists, Ceremony of Sand celebrates the borderlands, its strangeness and its stark beauty: “You cannot dismantle// the border wall. Take it/ apart, a house frame// in the hands of a boy/ who prefers a mallet.// Reassembled, a black lung.”
-Rigoberto González, author of The Book of Ruin
Ceremony of Sand blurs borders of every kind. Human/nonhuman, body/mind, flesh and indomitable spirit. The sheer breadth of the social, political and ecological vision here is stunning. But this is a work marked, indelibly, by its emphasis on intimacy. On the ways we destroy one another and keep each other alive. In the midst of this clear and present chaos, Gomez seems to say, we must embrace our capacity for wonder, our hard-wired hunger for the impossible, as both respite and a weapon against the forces which work to hem us in. Even at the end of the world, we must find new ways to assemble, to remember, and to imagine what comes after everything we have ever known. Rodney Gomez has given us an anthem for that occasion.
-Joshua Bennett, author of The Sobbing School