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CHOPPER! CHOPPER! POETRY FROM BORDERED LIVES: Verónica Reyes
2013, 112 pages, $18.95
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Distributed to the trade by:
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About the Book
Chopper! Chopper! reflects the lives of Mexican Americans, immigrants, Chicanas/os, and la jotería—malfloras, jotos, and beautiful rainbow communities. As vividly as Mexican Technicolor, these poems capture life in the barrio: vendors hauling carts with elote, raspados, botes y más. Vatos fighting to exist. Mujeres claiming space. Summer evenings, children playing in the calles of East L.A., El Paso, and bordered tierras everywhere. Reyes’s work exudes the pride, strength, turmoil and struggle of neighborhoods brimming with tradition and invention, estilo a la brava. These homegrown verses reveal the barrio in all its intricate layers. Revering difference, they fight to make room for something new: Marimacha Poetry. Y Qué!
Praise for Chopper! Chopper!
In this book there is no time to run home chillando or licking your wounds—the gente in Reyes's recollections pull you into a world where crooked tortillas and marimacha swagger are less the image of otherness, but a symbol of nosotros'ness. Through Reyes's barrio lyricism, we, the others, do not cross over to become the norm, but come together as strands of hair, distinct, yet slicked together by the force of love, coraje, and Tres Flores.
—Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano
Chopper! Chopper! replenishes the landscapes of East L.A. and the lives that give it shape. Reyes resurrects old-time shops and hangouts. They memorialize the land alongside edifices of refuse, sterile towers, man-made deserts and rivers, machines that suffocate the sky, fields locked in the historical cycle churning out the fieldworker's woe. Queers, dandies, cholos, mariachis the same as 'Chumash, Pomo, Modoc' ramble these streets. In these dramatic monologues, the perfect poetic mode to retool history, Reyes's wit leaves a mark. Her young self marvels at 'old coors or budweiser botes, tab, aspen soda cans...tossed by the lake at Lincoln Park, half buried in the sandbox just like the statue of liberty in planet of the apes.' In this cool, sad, funny collection, East L.A. startles us like 'a pinche far, faraway land' it really is.
—Kristin Naca, author of Bird Eating Bird