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.
About the Author
Table of ContentsContents I. La Llorona as Andrea Yates The Impossible You Creation Myth (1981) The Monastery & Farm Have Been Sold Self-Portrait with Headphones On A Study of You, Grief Coming Out Creation Myth Leaving El Campo, TX A Body Becomes Less Departure/Aperture Wharton, TX II. Texas Hurricanes (1980–Present) Elegy Composed of a Thousand Voices in a Bottle After I Lost You Creation Myth (1985) Corpus Christi, before Hurricane Ivan Stiletto Victoria, TX La Beautiful Street Big Bend, TX Coming Out A Study of You, Grief Puberty Parts of a Flower III. Creation Myth (1981) Lilacism Parts of the Alphabet Looking at Women Learning the F Word A Study of You, Love Descriptions of his Tongue Women Go Missing Sonnet for Jinkx Monsoon Wharton, TX Hot Mess Self-Portrait with Headphones On IV. Orgy La Estrella Nothing Sticks (2011)—Excerpts Trying to Anchor You, Father Reconstructing the Burial from a Few Fragments La Beautiful Street Creation Myth Self-Portrait with Headphones On Corpus Christi, after Hurricane Ivan Grief: A Study of You Elma Karankawa I Leave Origin Notes Acknowledgments