The poems in Dulce are at once confession and elegy that admit the speaker’s attempt and possible failure to reconcile intimacy toward another and toward the self. The collection asks: what’s the point in any of this?—meaning, what’s the use of longing beyond pleasure; what’s the use of looking for an origin if we already know the ending?
Surreal and deeply imagistic, the poems map a parallel between the landscape of the border and the landscape of sexuality. Marcelo Hernandez Castillo invites the reader to confront and challenge the distinctions of borders and categories, and in doing so, he obscures and negates such divisions. He allows for the possibility of an and in a world of either/or.
These poems enact a prescient anxiety of what is to come, “I want to say all of this is true / but we both know it isn’t. . . . We already know what’s at the other end of this.” Dulce is truly a lyrical force rife with the rich language of longing and regret that disturbs even the most serene quiet.
MARCELO HERNANDEZ CASTILLO was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, and crossed the border through Tijuana with his family at the age of five. He is a Canto Mundo fellow and the first undocumented student to graduate from the University of Michigan’s M.F.A. program. He teaches at Sacramento State University and the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida. He cofounded the Undocupoets campaign which successfully eliminated citizenship requirements from all major first poetry book prizes in the country and was recognized with the Barnes and Noble “Writers for Writers” award from Poets and Writers magazine. His first full-length collection, Children of the Land, is forthcoming from HarperCollins.
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