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A Face Out of Clay

by Brent Ameneyro

Paperback Price $16.95
Ebook Price $13.95

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Published by the Center for Literary Publishing at Colorado State University

Mountain/West Poetry Series

“In Brent Ameneyro’s debut poetry collection, A Face Out of Clay, breath becomes an act of the sacred, an act of survival. Balancing inheritance—‘I see my face, / two countries’—the voice struggles through polyvocalic identities with desire of belonging: ‘It doesn’t matter that your dad dreams in Spanish—this isn’t yours.’ With sonic incantations, surrealist urges, and his own form of ‘Tectonics,’ Ameneyro’s poems move like fissuring geological plates that leave phantom melodies and memories lingering in the air. Here a caterpillar may dig ‘a hole into Mexico’s breast’ and emerge winged and humaned. In a time of climate crisis, Ameneyro reminds us we are made of the earth, and ‘earth eats everything,’ where metamorphosis and flight—‘take this world / and tuck it in your gentle wings, take this’—weave in and out as song, praise, and warning.”

“‘[T]heir voices / fell through a hole / in the sky,’ sings the poet in this poemario—which unfolds with a ‘passion that can only be understood / from under the hood of a car.’ In other words, what we have here is a verbal canvas of startling adjacencies where one must ‘determine the length / of tongues’ in order to measure‘the fabric of space,’ not only to paint indelible human portraits but also to map a familia ‘crammed into a minivan’—a childhood journey of migration that marks the self irrevocably. You’ll be utterly convinced that ‘a heartbeat is a war drum’ but also experience a delicate, moving elegy for a loved one who ‘blew the napkins off the table / when she opened her wings.’ In short, lives richly lived: ‘Fútbol, carne asada, / waiting for the water to be delivered.’”

“In his remarkable debut, Brent Ameneyro writes, ‘a cemetery and an elementary school / share a parking lot.’ The lyric space in these poems is a revved-up engine caught between the past and the present. Memory is deeply felt, brilliantly rendered. Here, ‘the night sky [is] burnt motor oil.’ Here, ‘a door / floats above an endless horizon.’ Moving through the United States and Mexico, the speaker pledges no allegiances and re-minds us imagination is borderless. As are sorrow and wonder.”

“So much is said and written about ‘intersectionality’ these days and always as something, like a burglar,to be ‘interrogated.’ I say leave the intersections to the academicians. Poets, like Brent Ameneyro, can be found at the crossroads—that liminal space between worlds. Life and death, memory and forgetfulness, cuerpo y alma. Ameneyro’s lush, exquisitely crafted poems don’t interrogate so much as remind us to ask—of ourselves, of the universe (observable or not)—what is it to live? Here? Now? And why bother? A Face Out of Clay is a road map, a galaxy guide, for soul travelers who ‘don’t mind tripping on the uneven stone sidewalk.’ It is not an interrogator’s floodlight but a torch held out in front of us while we journey, meant neither to blind nor to overwhelm with its own brilliance, but to help us see.”

Written at the convergence of imagination and memory, A Face Out of Clay delves deep into childhood experiences and cultural identity. Through eloquent verses and poignant imagery, alternating between narrative and lyric poems, the book paints a complicated portrait of a bi-national speaker. The poems navigate the interplay between Mexican roots and the American experience, seeking to reconcile both cultural identities. They present themes of social justice, family bonds, and the power of cultural traditions, highlighting both difficult truths and everyday beauty. The poems transport readers back in time, reliving childhood innocence, natural disasters, and political oppressors. They serve as a reminder of the power of nostalgia along with the challenges that come with recreating memories. A Face Out of Clay is a profound exploration of the human experience, inviting readers to reflect, celebrate, and connect with the transformative power of poetry.

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Brent Ameneyro is the author of the chapbook Puebla (Ghost City Press, 2023). His poetry has been published in Alaska Quarterly Reviewthe Iowa Review, Ninth Letter, The Journal, and elsewhere. He earned his MFA at San Diego State University, where he was awarded the 2021 SRS Research Award for Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice. He was the 2022–23 Letras Latinas Poetry Coalition Fellow at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies. He currently serves as the poetry editor at the Los Angeles Review.

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  • Paperback Price: $16.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-885635-89-1
  • Ebook Price: $13.95
  • EISBN: 978-1-885635-90-7
  • Publication Month: June
  • Publication Year: 2024
  • Pages: 86
  • Discount Type: Trade
  • Author: by Brent Ameneyro
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-885635-89-1

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