Bernice Zamora Releasing Serpents

ISBN 13: 9780927534390

Releasing Serpents

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9780927534390: Releasing Serpents

poetry, Zamora's long-awaited 2nd book

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From the Back Cover:

Bernice Zamora's long-awaited second book of poetry combines her previously published, well-received poems with a selection of new work. Her first collection, Restless Serpents (1976), was critically acclaimed for its mature, carefully crafted poems that successfully combine folklore, political insights, and academic concerns. The thirty new poems in this volume show, when juxtaposed with the earlier ones, Zamora's enduring preoccupation with a sense of self as it is heightened by participation in the community. Her poetic voice attempts to retrieve the Chicano past, both the positive and problematic elements, and examine it within the developing Chicano culture. Zamora's poetry is often political and gender-specific. Nevertheless, it is never narcissistic, for it portrays the Chicana self as it functions in the larger, advancing Chicano community. In this sense, Zamora is a constructive and political folk poet. In her work, the Chicana self functions neither to be absorbed into nor alienated from the larger community, but rather to challenge and modify its assumptions.

From Publishers Weekly:

While the Chicano community has long respected Zamora's ( Restless Serpents ) writings, this volume seems intended to introduce her to more diverse readers. Does her writing have anything significant to say to this larger audience? It appears not. Nancy Vogeley's introduction fluctuates among biographical detail, an academic criticism and a discussion of Chicano writing in general. Zamora is a poet for whom English words have remained "turds of the golden goose-- / words we picked up, wiped off, / cleaned up." At the same time, she's well-read in English literature and willing to borrow inspiration from writers such as Robinson Jeffers and Theodore Roethke. Spanish poems and phrases pop up, with no attempt at translation. She is perhaps the angriest Chicana poet most Anglo readers will have encountered to date. Curses punctuate the poems; a woman sitting outside after dinner casually decides to kill the family goat; fog makes one speaker suspect there are moans lurking within it; angels are "stiff-winged." Sparse on both lyricism and imagery, many pieces here are little more than cautionary or humorous tidbits.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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