Alumna Sarah A. Chavez publishes debut full-length poetry collection
The author of Blood Sugar, ire’ne lara silva, had this to say about Hands that Break and Scar:
“In language that is both achingly honest and meticulously poetic, Chavez chronicles the passage from childhood to young womanhood in California's Central Valley, negotiating culture, language, identity, sexuality, love, and meaning. It is not that these poems reveal the secret profound nature of things—in Chavez' world, the lines blur between violence and love, joy and struggle, memory and transcendence, the sacred and the mundane. One thing flows into another and back again. Hands That Break and Scar will leave an indelible mark on your heart, reminding you that poetry, beauty, and life are everywhere—within and without.”
Sarah A. Chavez, a mestiza born and raised in the California Central Valley, is the author of the chapbook, All Day, Talking (dancing girl press, 2014), a selection of which won the Susan Atefat Peckham Fellowship. Her work appears in such publications as Imaniman: Poets Writing in the Anzaldúan Borderlands, Brevity, North American Review, Fourth River, Acentos Review, and VIDA Exclusive, among others. She holds a PhD in English with a focus in poetry and Ethnic Studies from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Along with teaching at Marshall University, she serves as coordinator of the A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series.
Other advance readers include Corinne Clegg Hales, author of To Make it Right, who said:
“The poems in Hands That Break and Scar work as a sort of mosaic, vividly portraying a bi-cultural, working class—and often precarious—childhood in the rough world of California’s hot Central Valley. This community is as stressed as it is vital—and children become vigilant and self-sufficient at an early age. […] Chavez celebrates the moments of true joy and grace to be found in simple physical acts and otherwise ordinary situations. ‘I climbed the ladder,’ she says, ‘reached out my arm / placed my fingers on the fruit’s smooth skin, / twisted it away from the stem / and handed it down to my grandmother / whose hair danced lightly in the breeze.’ This is a stunning first book, filled with brilliant images, hard truths, and honest hope.”