Of Form & Gather marks the dazzling debut of Felicia Zamora, whose poems concern themselves with probing questions, not facile answers. Where does the self reside? What forms do we, as human beings, inhabit as we experience the world around us? Echoing the collection’s provocative title, final judge Edwin Torres writes: “Zamora has crafted a work that celebrates form as human evolution—the poem’s breath, the poet’s body—passing over time in a landscape thirsty for passage.” Privileging journey over destination, Zamora’s poems spur the reader to immerse herself in linguistic soundscapes where the physicality of the poems themselves is, in no small part, the point: poems that challenge us to navigate the word/world as both humans and things. Edwin Torres continues: “This is quietly revolutionary work. . . . A living palimpsest to newly awaken our social engagement." With the publication of this volume, the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, now in its seventh edition, emphatically makes good on its aim to nurture the various paths that Latino/a poetry is taking in the twenty-first century.
“Dear whisperers, dear wombs, dear promises, dear leaves, dear bones, dear sparrow-shadows, dear you—Felicia Zamora has written all of you a book of poems, a book of togetherness, a book of to-gather-ness. Here the world in all its dark phenomenal vitality digs down into the ‘distinct separation felt between clauses’ and there takes root, and there too the ghosts and the animals speak, and every distance reveals itself as a link. Charting out circles and cycles and containments, these poems also become that complicated mirror that doesn’t simply reflect us back to ourselves, but as all that is not exactly us, where the body goes animal, goes vegetal, ‘& mind becomes becomes becomes’” — Dan Beachy-Quick, author of gentlessness
“Felicia Zamora’s poems feel both mysterious and familiar. I love their back and forth quality, how, as she writes ‘we all in/out of something; how we all hint hint hint.’ In Of Form & Gather this hinting takes the forms of mirrors, of close, obsessive observations, of suggestion, accumulating into a book of names as well as of the process of naming. It’s a book of perception, and, in perceiving, it undoes syntax, to recombine ‘that’ and ‘this’ and ‘you,’ as a process, as she writes, ‘to become; of what, of what . . .’ ‘Together, repeats you’ she writes, and I believe her. It’s the kind of sharing, a deeply human connection, that makes for a continually fresh experience, and I’m grateful, so very grateful, for it.” — John Gallaher, editor, The Laurel Review
“With its measured and continual revelation, Felicia Zamora has crafted a work that celebrates form as human evolution—the poem’s breath, the poet’s body—passing over time in a landscape thirsty for passage. . . . This is quietly revolutionary work that throws a gauntlet to the social diaspora. A living palimpsest to newly awaken our social engagement by breathing in a simultaneity of opposing forces—as tectonic plates of hearing that create fissures inside the unfolding kinetic.” — Edwin Torres, judge of the 2016 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize
“Felicia Zamora’s Of Form & Gather is a sustained, attentive, meditation on an ancient problem in the philosophy of art: the relation of parts and wholes. She writes ‘We were made to be made up of’ as her book explores the myriad ways our words, thoughts, and very cells are ‘in’: within, instilling, in motion, inhabiting, inside, in ellipsis, believing in, and beginning: ‘If you trace anything back to origin,’ she writes, ‘—more trails, more fingerprints, more quiet notes hanging on lines of pages/ in wait of instrument, a baton to lift.’” — Susan Stewart, author of The Poet’s Freedom and Cinder
“Winner of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize for a first book of poetry, Zamora’s arresting book of prose poems thrives at the intersection of the ethereal and the ephemeral, the beautiful center of space and light. Wonder and music guide the speaker as she makes startling connections between the natural landscape, the human body and the languages that embrace their vulnerability and surprising strength. . . . There is much that our curiosity hungers to consider about our tiny selves on this vast planet, Zamora posits, if we allow it to explore.” —NBC News
“The first thing that stands out about Zamora’s poetry is the many ways she uses punctuation to create or disrupt a rhythm in her words. Emdashes, ampersands, ellipses, and semicolons abound. The “&” gathers and binds things together, doing the kind of magic Zamora alludes to in all of her poems. . . . Throughout Of Form & Gather, Zamora uses animal and ocean imagery to destroy any borders or divisions between human forms, humanity, and the natural world. . . . Perhaps Zamora’s work can be considered poetry for the Chthulucene.” — ZYZZYVA: A San Francisco Journal of Arts and Letters