Pity the Drowned Horses
Paperback | 9780268033743 | April 2005
Hardcover | 9780268033736 | April 2005
eBook (PDF) | 9780268160852 | October 2020
Pity the Drowned Horses is the winner of the first Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize. This collection is about place and many of the poems in it are set in the desert southwest on the U.S./Mexico border in El Paso, Texas. Sheryl Luna’s poems are also about family and home within the broader context of the border as both a bridge and a barrier. They deal with the bilingual and bicultural city and how a place is longed for and viewed very differently as the observer changes and experiences other cultures.
The first two sections of poems focus on home and family. They show that, despite poverty and geographical isolation, the border towns of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez are places of beauty and promise. The third section explores cultures: how anxiety over aesthetic judgments, values, and difference are negotiated. The final section is one of praise and recognition that despite differences we are all longing for faith and a place to call home.
Sheryl Luna is an accomplished poet and writer whose work has appeared in literary journals, including The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Puerto del Sol, and Feminist Studies. She has been a finalist for the National Poetry Series and for the Colorado book award. Her second collection, Seven, was published in 2013. She has taught at the University of Colorado in Boulder and Metropolitan State University in Denver. She currently teaches workshops for a community mental health center.
“Sheryl Luna’s debut collection, Pity the Drowned Horses, poses several questions about the meaning of ‘home’: is it rooted to a particular place? can we escape it? can we find it elsewhere? once we’ve left, can we return? . . . She circles through various locales and landscapes, including San Francisco, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Prague, and Paris, but like the frayed-wing hawk who drifts through the collection, Luna’s speaker is drawn, slightly battered, back to the desert of her origins.” ~Latino Poetry Review