by Iliana Rocha


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Winner of the 2014 Donald Hall Prize for Poetry
Selected by Joy Harjo

Karankawa is a collection that explores some of the ways in which we (re)construct our personal histories. Rich in family narratives, myths, and creation stories, these are poems that investigate passage—dying, coming out, transforming, being born—as well as the gaps that also reside in our stories, for, as Rocha suggests, the opportunity to create myths is provided by great silences. Much like the Karankawa Indians whose history works in omissions, Karankawa reconfigures such spaces, engaging with the burden and freedom of memory in order to rework and recontextualize private and public mythologies. First and last, these are poems that honor our griefs and desires, for they keep alive the very things we cannot possess.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822963844
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Publication date: 09/18/2015
Series: Pitt Poetry Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 88
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Iliana Rocha is a PhD candidate in English with a creative writing emphasis at Western Michigan University. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Arizona State University, where she was poetry editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. Her work was chosen for the Best New Poets 2014 anthology and has appeared or is forthcoming in Blackbird, Yalobusha Review, Puerto del Sol, and Third Coast.

Table of Contents


La Llotona as Andrea Yates 3

The Impossible You 4

Creation Myth (1981) 6

The Monastery & Farm Have Been Sold 7

Self-Portrait with Headphones On 8

A Study of You, Grief 10

Coming Out 11

Creation Myth 12

Leaving El Campo, TX 13

A Body Becomes Less 14

Departure/Aperture 15

Wharton, TX 16


Texas Hurricanes (1980-Present) 19

Elegy Composed of a Thousand Voices in a Bottle 20

After I Lost You 21

Creatiion Myth (1985) 22

Corpus Christi, before Hurricane Ivan 24

Stiletto 25

Victoria, TX 26

La Beautiful Street 27

Big Bend, TX 28

Coming Out 29

A Study of You, Grief 30

Puberty 31

Parts of a Flower 32


Creation Myth (1981) 35

Lilacism 36

Parts of the Alphabet 37

Looking at Women 39

Learning the F Word 40

A Study of You, Love 41

Descriptions of his Tongue 42

Women Go Missing 43

Sonnet for Jinkx Monsoon 44

Wharton, TX 45

Hot Mess 46

Self-Portrait with Headphones On 48


Orgy 51

La Estrella 52

Nothing Sticks(2011)?Excerpts 53

Trying to Anchor You, Father 56

Reconstructing the Burial from a Few Fragments 58

La Beautiful Street 59

Creation Myth 60

Self-Portrait with Headphones On 61

Corpur, Christi, after Hurricane Ivan 63

Grief: A Study of You 64

Elma 65

Karankawa 66

I Leave 68

Origin 69

Notes 71

Acknowledgments 73

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