51 minutes | Dec 2, 2020

Roy G. Guzmán, "Catrachos" (Graywolf Press, 2020)

Roy G. Guzmán’s Catrachos (Graywolf Press, 2020) is a stunning debut collection of poetry that immerses the reader in rich, vibrant language. Described as being “part immigration narrative, part elegy, and part queer coming-of-age story,” this powerful collection blends pop culture, humor, with Guzmán’s cultural experience to explore life, death, and borders both real and imaginary.

“This isn’t supposed to be a history book, and yet it is,” says Guzmán in discussing Catrachos. It’s not supposed to be anthropology, sociology, or a testimonial either, and yet it is. “Those are the contradictions, especially when you’re a marginalized writer, your words are always operating on so many different frequencies at once.”

“It is not a fallacy that the pulpería owner who wakes up

dressed in a tunic of warriors’ pelos, or the milkman

pressing his rough hands against the cow’s tectonic body,

remembers the skirted boy with an ovarian lipstick for a tongue,

the boy who offered a tenth of his knees to the teeth

of a country with dentures.”

— from “Finding Logic in a Crushed Head”

Roy G. Guzmán received a 2019 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a 2017 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry fellowship. Raised in Miami, Florida, Guzmán currently lives in Minneapolis. Catrachos is their first book of poetry, published by Graywolf Press in May 2020.

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