Relinquenda: Poems

Beacon Pr. Oct. 2022. 96p. ISBN 9780807007105. pap. $16.95. POETRY
Following her award-winning Matria, Regalado’s “National Poetry” series winner was written after COVID closed U.S. borders, separating her from family in El Salvador; her title (Latin for relinquish) indicates the tenor of her work. Set between Florida and El Salvador, the poems here fully commit to family and transitions, what we keep and what we let go. Throughout, Regalado examines the roles of women, mother, daughter, and wife and questions our impermanence as we struggle to hold onto some sense of safety or belonging (“Isn’t it expected that one thing will chase another?/ Isn’t it normal to want your space?”). An extended second section (of four) recounts the passing of her father from cancer—“Death is wild, we are told. He is both hunter and prey”—and the counsel she received; her mother tells her, “A dying person needs a moment alone.” Frequently writing in response to Audre Lorde, Ana Mendieta, and René Magritte, Regalado experiments with form (though her writing is not formal), using language that is both exquisite and empathetic and introducing phrases in Spanish throughout.
VERDICT Beautiful in form and content, Regalado’s lyrical work will appeal broadly to readers interested in emotional connection.
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