When Living Was A Labor Camp

Overview

"I write what I eat and smell," says Diana García, and her words are a bountiful harvest. Her poems color the page with the vibrancy and sweetness of figs, the freshness of tortillas, and the sensuality of language.

In this, García's first collection of poems, she takes a bittersweet look back at the migrant labor camps of California and offers a tribute to the people who toiled there. Writing from the heart of California's San Joaquin Valley, she catapults the reader into the ...

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Overview

"I write what I eat and smell," says Diana García, and her words are a bountiful harvest. Her poems color the page with the vibrancy and sweetness of figs, the freshness of tortillas, and the sensuality of language.

In this, García's first collection of poems, she takes a bittersweet look back at the migrant labor camps of California and offers a tribute to the people who toiled there. Writing from the heart of California's San Joaquin Valley, she catapults the reader into the lives of the campesinos with their daily joys and sorrows.

Bold, political, and familial, García's poems gift the reader with a sense of earth, struggle, and pride--each line filled with the sounds of agrarian music, from mariachi melodies to repatriation revolts. Embodied with such spirit, her poems rise with the convictions of power and equality.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"The mail addressed to Occupant/ wants to bury me cheap,/ wants to sell me a family album/ or Funk and Wagnall's Encyclopedia/ on the installment plan./ Not one letter offers what I want/ or need: a set of retread tires/ a gold crown for that top left molar,/ that 49ers jacket my son saw at the mall." Garc a's debut collection renders three generations worth of detached anger and small pleasures with an unerring eye. Men grope and cajole awkwardly, women klatch over half-gallons of burgundy and contemplate repeating their mistakes. From lives based around picking fruit in the California fields (Garc a was born in a San Joaquin valley migrant labor camp) to trying to get out of the subsidized "blue roof" apartment complex ("the top 10%/ of the poor, a pink-collar ghetto"), the people of Garc a's poems are filled with yearning, sass and unrealized potential. Some, like the poet, get to college and beyond. Some get "repatriated," "sped... away to Zacatecas, to Guanajuato,/ the border's membrane just a breath away." Although the poems too often end in sentiment, such moments often seem more of an exhausted collapse than a failure of apprehension, since the characters within are sketched with such authority. Written mostly in English, but slipping bilingually into Spanish, Garc a's poems demand to be addressed by name. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816520435
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2000
  • Series: Camino del Sol
  • Pages: 122
  • Product dimensions: 0.29 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

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