100 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268203931 | February 2023
Hardcover | 9780268203924 | February 2023
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268203948 | February 2023
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268203917 | February 2023
The poems in Auto/Body are an inexhaustible engine—sometimes a body, sometimes flesh—a sensual exploration of what it means to repair, to remake, to keep going even when rebuilding feels impossible.
From the greased-up engines of auto body shops to the innumerable points of light striking the dance floor of a queer nightclub, Auto/Body, winner of the Ernest Sandeen Prize in Poetry, hot-wires the vulnerability of the narrating body to the language of auto mechanics to reveal their shared queer decadence.
Behind the wheel of this book is an insistent, humorous voice whose experiences have lent themselves to a deep, intimate knowledge of survival, driven by the pursuit of joy and exalted pleasure. Raised in and near auto body shops, Vickie Vértiz remembers visiting them for new tires, or to elevate the family car to examine what’s underneath, to see what’s working and what’s not. The poetry in this book is also a body shop: but we take our bodies, identities, desires, and see what’s sparking. In this shop we ask: what needs changing? How do our bodies transcend ways of being we have received so that we may become more ourselves?
From odes to drag, to pushing back on the tyranny of patriarchy, to loving too hard and too queer, to growing up working-class in a time of incessant border violence and incarceration, this collection combusts with blood and fuel. In other words, Vértiz writes to dissolve a colonial engine and reconstruct a new vessel with its remains.
Vickie Vértiz is an award-winning Mexican American poet, writer, and professor whose work has appeared in the New York Times magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Her book Palm Frond with Its Throat Cut won the 2018 PEN America literary prize in poetry. A graduate of Williams College, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of California, Riverside, she teaches in the Writing Program at UC Santa Barbara
“Auto/Body by Vickie Vértiz is a rebellion against violence and colonization. ‘Rights to land that was never / yours Now you dig your hands into teenage girls.’ Her linguistic virtuosity challenges, cajoles, and questions repressive attitudes. She playfully engages metaphor, paradox, and satire. Vértiz is a bold, strong voice, ‘I’m not afraid. In this sparkle, in the middle of all of us, I am not afraid / to burn down this and every song.’” —Sheryl Luna, author of Magnificent Errors