Sundress Publications announces the release of Esteban Rodriguez’s The Valley. Rodriguez’s poetry asks readers to consider what is real and what is home, when borders carve deep sections out of us.
In this visceral collection, poet Esteban Rodriguez introduces the voice of a boy straddling the valley between two geographies, two generations, two languages. Under the relentless Texas sun, these poems traverse desert landscapes and moonlit fields carved by an aching loneliness and gentle laughter. Here, a father crosses a river of starlight and corpses, a child is awed by a mirage-like circus and the gilded rims of lowriders, and a mother travels home to Mexico to heal the decay of her body. The Valley explores the tenuous boundaries between citizenship and belonging, memory and tradition, silence and forgetting. Rodriguez’s poems take us through stories of survival and violence as the young speaker’s imagination tries to make sense of these ruptures. Tender and searching, The Valley offers solace to those of us who must navigate silences and cross borders in order to survive.
Steve Scafidi, author of Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer, said of The Valley, “Esteban Rodriguez knows that the valley of the shadow of death is where we all grew up, where there is a river and someone swimming to cross. The Valley is that rare collection of poems where, over and over again, the mythic shimmers in and illuminates the real. The woman in her nightgown is your mother, the man in his garden is your father. They are ordinary, they are divine, somehow. How does it happen we survive this place? ‘In each of us there is a river,’ he writes, ‘and it’s long gone.’ What remains is this ghost, this river of language we chance and cross as we read. What an achievement, this lovely beguiling book.”
Esteban Rodriguez is the author of the collections Dusk & Dust (Hub City Press, 2019), Crash Course (Saddle Road Press, 2019), In Bloom (SFASU Press, 2020), and (Dis)placement (Skull + Wind Press, 2020). His poetry has appeared in Boulevard, The Rumpus, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. He is the Interviews Editor for EcoTheo Review, an Assistant Poetry Editor for AGNI, and a regular reviews contributor for PANK and Heavy Feather Review. He lives with his family in Austin, Texas.