The Rivers Are Inside Our Homes
102 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268205676 | August 2023
Hardcover | 9780268205669 | August 2023
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268205683 | August 2023
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268205652 | August 2023
The Rivers Are Inside Our Homes handles themes of loss and exile, aging generations, fable and fairy tale, marriage and hurt, with the island of Cuba at its heart.
These incandescent poems by Cuban American poet Victoria María Castells explore how we can salvage our notion of paradise in an overspent Eden. In thwarted homes located in Havana and Miami, Rapunzel and her prince, persecuted nymphs, Morgause, and Bluebeard’s wife speak to us directly, all in need of returning to safety. Confronting machismo, illness, heartbreak, and isolation, the poems depict how women are at the mercy of men, either husband or oligarch. Yet all generations of Cubans are bombarded with this need to return or to leave, to have both, to have neither.
Meanwhile, hurricane seasons add further instability to shelter and family, growing fiercer every year. Exile and displacement are accepted as permanent conditions. Latin America will mirror Cuba’s violent struggles as conquered land and despotic object. From the colonial desecrations to fraught revolutionary aftermath, the search for home is lyrically charted by this contradictory land of suffering and dreams. Through these poems, dictators, grandmothers, mythical characters, and buccaneers are given voices of equal strength, challenging what constitutes truth under a prism of fantasy and desire.
Victoria María Castells is a creative writing teacher in Miami, Florida. Her poems have appeared in Reservoir, The Journal, Quarter After Eight, Notre Dame Review, and other literary journals.
“These poems capture the quandary of being Cuban-American, a liminal space of being where one is haunted by the exile condition beyond the possibility of resolution or even the anodyne of forgetting. Castells confronts the agonies of exile, the relentless gravity of memory, and the deterioration of Cuba under communism with disquieting surrealism and stark emotion.” —Orlando Ricardo Menes, author of The Gospel of Wildflowers and Weeds
"Ghosts flow through the gulf stream waters of Victoria María Castell’s gorgeous poems. Caught in the storms of geopolitics, the natural world, and intergenerational memory, this lyric narrative of a Cuban-American family contemplates the complexity of exile and home. Readers of this book will be long haunted by its beauty." —Amy Fleury, author of Sympathetic Magic
"These are mature and mesmeric poems. Hurricanes, exiled family, the devastating migrations to a new country and landscape, it's all here and so visceral and so well orchestrated. Each poem works an indelible impact on the reader. This book is a necessary catharsis for all of us who've lived and survived this history. A brilliant addition to our literary canon." —Virgil Suárez, author of The Painted Bunting's Last Molt and Amerikan Chernobyl
“Newly Published Poetry: This debut collection by a Cuban American poet from Miami centers on questions of exile, immigration and memory, evoking Cuba as ‘this pearl/erupted from Earth, island/of dew and Communist tide.’” —New York Times Book Review
"The Rivers Are Inside Our Homes is a poetry collection you can read in small sips or down in one large gulp. For a double reward, try it both ways. It’s an amazing collection." —Tweetspeak