New collection from Raramuri-Chicanx poet, Oscar Mancinas.
In his 1945 essay “Poetry and Knowledge,” Aimé Césaire wrote: within poetry “Everything has the right to life. Everything is called. Everything is waiting; I mean everything.” It’s fitting, then, that Césaire appears alongside conversations, colonial chronicles, Yelp reviews, legislative language, headlines, song lyrics, political proclamations, treaties, academic research, memories, op-eds, creation stories, tweets, and other poetic everythings in DES: PAPELES, PALABRAS, & POEMS FROM THE DESERT by Oscar Mancinas. At the heart of this collection are the people, deserts, and neighborhoods of central Arizona. Des collects and relays stories of Indigenous and migrant belonging, displacement, resistance, and hope; it’s a multilingual, Rarámuri, Chicanx attempt to “relate/belong/remain … within O’odham jewed.” In other words, Des draws upon the poetry of desert homelands and merges it to an unsettled belonging.
“Oscar Mancinas scorches as concrete poet-historian who keeps time to the centuries-old settler dance on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. He demands facing up to colonizers from Bernal Díaz de Castillo and Walt Whitman to Tom Brokaw and those who seek to profit from destroying the Washington-Escobedo neighborhood in Mesa, Arizona. His poems in English with Spanish and Rarámuri evocatively re-arrange poetic time by offering multiple orders of reading to disrupt the false innocence and violent uniformity of the settler colonial knowledge machine. Following the flight embedded in the Rarámuri meaning of his own last name, Mancinas shows us how to read in ma’chiná time.”–Katerina Gonzalez Seligmann, scholar, poetry translator, author of Writing the Caribbean in Magazine Time