April 4, 2018

María Santos Sweetest Apple, by Claudia Castro Luna

For today, a poem by Claudia Castro Luna, from her newest book, Killing Marías, a collection honoring the disappeared women of Juárez, Mexico. [1]

María Santos Sweetest Apple
by Claudia Castro Luna

They say we live
on either side of a border

I say that’s fodder
for a sexist imagination 

coyote’s tooth does not alone bite
and falcon’s feather takes not alone to the sky

silo living is not for living things

like the braid on my abuela’s back
and beads on a Rosary strand

interlinked we are rain, dust, stars

[1] About the book:

"Each poem in Killing Marías is addressed to someone named María who has been killed in Juárez. Lyric in tradition, they are more love poems than elegies. The poems are full of love, of care, of transnational empathy. This is a book that is unusually moving and beautifully written." — Juliana Sphar

"In this epic poetry collection Killing Marías, Claudia Castro Luna, both poetically and physically, settles spaces that were unclaimed by Latinas. Her inscription of the disappeared women of Juárez is a live cartographic image of struggle and spiritual survival. Castro Luna does not allow for these dead women to lack agency; they nourish us and the earth, and they speak with their bodies, literally, positioning themselves as recovered entities with agency, in the poet’s skilled narrativizing hands." — Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs

"In Killing Marías, each poem is a rosary bead named after a woman’s life in Ciudad Juárez. Each bead reveals a crack of light through which we can peak into the hurt so many women experience from birth to death. Castro Luna’s piercing voice states “exploitation has no limits,” and that “man’s hypocrisy even less.” She dares us to stop being mediocre humans, especially men, and let the “feminine thrive.” — Javier Zamora
About the author:
Claudia Castro Luna served as Seattle’s first Civic Poet from 2015-2017 and is the author of This City (Floating Bridge Press).  She is a Hedgebrook and VONA alumna, the recipient of a King County 4Culture grant and a Jack Straw Fellow. Born in El Salvador she came to the United States in 1981. She has an MFA in poetry, an MA in Urban Planning and a K-12 teaching certificate. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Northwest, La Bloga, City Arts, Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, among others. Her non-fiction work can be read in the anthologies, The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the US, (Northwestern University Press); Vanishing Points: Contemporary Salvadoran Narrative, (Kalina Eds) and forthcoming in This Is The Place: Women Writing About Home (Seal Press). Living in English and Spanish, Claudia writes and teaches in Seattle where she gardens and keeps chickens with her husband and their three children.
She tweets here. Her blog here.

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