The Tijuana Book of the Dead

The Tijuana Book of the Dead

by Luis Alberto Urrea
The Tijuana Book of the Dead

The Tijuana Book of the Dead

by Luis Alberto Urrea


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From the author of Pulitzer-nominated The Devil’s Highway and national bestseller The Hummingbird’s Daughter comes an exquisitely composed collection of poetry on life at the border. Weaving English and Spanish languages as fluidly as he blends cultures of the southwest, Luis Urrea offers a tour of Tijuana, spanning from Skid Row, to the suburbs of East Los Angeles, to the stunning yet deadly Mojave Desert, to Mexico and the border fence itself. Mixing lyricism and colloquial voices, mysticism and the daily grind, Urrea explores duality and the concept of blurring borders in a melting pot society.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781619024823
Publisher: Catapult
Publication date: 03/17/2015
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 1,067,145
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Luis Alberto Urrea, 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, is a prolific and acclaimed writer who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss, and triumph. Born in Tijuana, Mexico to a Mexican father and an American mother, Urrea has published extensively in all the major genres. The critically acclaimed and best-selling author of 13 books, he has won numerous awards for his poetry, fiction and essays, and his work has been featured in The Best American Poetry series. Urrea lives with his family in Naperville, IL, where he teaches creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Read an Excerpt

"Siege Communiqué"

In Tijuana they said Juárez
was the pueblo where old
whores went to die, where
25 cents bought flesh

by the river, no
body loved you, Sister—
so close to Texas
so far from

Today, they say
you are the cementerio
of hope: the only crop
in your garden of Río
Grande mud is bullets,

is machetes, is
acid baths for bones,
choruses of prayers
from those in torture church.
Hermanita of Perpetual

Sorrow, what flowers
do we hand you—we
who die now too.
We who dangle nude
and burned from bridges,

we who hoped
to see our daughters
run through sunlight, only
chased by waves
not bleeding

but laughing.

Table of Contents

Exordium 1

You Who Seek Grace from a Distracted God 3

CE 9

Listen 11

Valley of the Palms 13

Codex Luna 17

Siege Communiqué 26

Arizona Lamentation 28

Sombra 30

Typewriter 31

Skunks 36

Fall Rain 42

Irrigation Canal Codex 43

Help Me 47

Walking Backward in the Dark 51

Roadmaster '56 56

Poema 58

Tecolote Canyon 59

OME 67

48 Roadsongs 69

Sonoran Desert Sutras 84

YEI 91

Teocalli Blues 93

Ditch Turtles 96

The Duck 98

Elk 105

La cara perdida 106

There Is a Town in Mexico 107

Song of Praise 109

Love Song 112

Definition 114

Bravo 88 115

Codex Colibrí 120

The Signal-to-Noise Ratio: Chicago Haiku 123

(asshole) 127

Incident Report 135

Canción al final de un día de sombras 142

Lines for Neruda 145

Pinche Ernesto 148

Tijuana Codex 149

The Tijuana Book of the Dead 150


Insomnia Machine 161

16 Lane 162

Darling Phyl 188

HYMN 191

Hymn to Vatos Who Will Never Be in a Poem 193

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