NO MAP OF THE EARTH INCLUDES STARS

Winner of the 2014 Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize

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"White, Black, Puerto Rican, everybody just a-freakin, and this non-Cuban’s just a-groovin’ to Olivares’s syncopated dictations and lyric visions and poetic prose blocks, which redraw diasporic maps as palimpsests (as in how the poem “Palimpsest” answers its “City beckoned. To be come a new home” with “Reality laid over reality until nothing is whole any longer”). This call-and-response extends, over several poems, into a conversation with Babalú-Ayé, the Orisha (syncretized with Saint Lazarus) of the healing of the Earth. Against the legacy of 1898 and its juridical maps, where Cuba is just one more pawn of empire, Olivares offers a spiritual map attuned to “the memory of my hands moving through the carcasses of others’ prayers.”—URAYOÁN NOEL

“Read this book aloud and remember how, through one’s life, we often lay awake through nights, walk eagerly through our days, looking for answers to echo back with the honesty of Christina Olivares’ No Map of the Earth Includes Stars. Turn off the news on your local channel; the story behind the news speaks here with a 'grasp at the fading bright thing—the fading song…you are changed forever….' And we’re changed for the better. This is the kind of collection you’ll read multiple times, hoping the wisdom will sink in, and then you’ll seek others who know that the ‘mind unfolds/ expands/ falls away, a star.’”— A. VAN JORDAN

“These are brave and searing poems, reconciling and healing deep divisions of mind, culture, spirit, lenguas – tongues, language. Gathering into herself “shards of angels,” the sky on fire, the sea’s “wept, wild singing,” a daughter petitions (pleads, prays, prepares a legal brief) for her paranoid, holy, homeless, violent, radiant, exiled family member. A woman weathers “the body’s thunderstorms,” love’s contradictions – “a river who flows against her own current;” presides heartachingly over the scene of instruction where children “learn what a border is” and are shown “no map of the world/ includes stars.”— L. S. ASEKOFF

"Christina Olivares' debut collection NO MAP OF THE EARTH INCLUDES STARS establishes her as one of the most adventurous young poets writing today. In probing, honest chronicles of imagined lives and lived situations across geographies, Olivares shines constellations of light on her vibrant experiences, in the mind and in the heart, in and out of this world. NO MAP OF THE EARTH INCLUDES STARS showcases the intermarry of a poet not so much pushing boundaries as transcending them." -- Publisher