As Hispanic Heritage month ends, we take one more opportunity to celebrate authors who have been kind enough to share their unique and diverse voices with us.
Thrown in the Throat, the debut by National Poetry Series winner Benjamin Garcia is unapologetic in its examinations of society. Garcia explores through his poetic works how a country built by immigrants seems to revel in anti-immigration sentiments. The author also explores his own sexuality and the complex nature of being loved by a family that does not love who you are. Using unique style and composition, Garcia renders his history as an undocumented child with honesty and allows the reader a clear view of the life they led. With powerful verse and unfaltering confidence Garcia’s debut gives access to a voice that deserves to be heard.
Another voice that brings their own perspective is John Paul Brammer in his book of essays: ¡Hola Papi! How to come out in a Walmart Parking lot and other life lessons. Originated as an online advice column, ¡Hola Papi! began as a commentary on the somewhat racist interactions the author received on Grindr. Overwhelmed by the responses he received, Brammer decided to respond with honesty and to be a source of help for his readers. In this collection of essays, Brammer looks inward in order to give the best advice he can by sharing his own experiences, no matter how embarrassing or heartbreaking. From figuring out how to define race, to writer’s block, to understanding one’s own identity, ¡Hola Papi! is an introspective look at the questions we ask ourselves and gives not the answer we want but the internal reflection we need.
Speculation Fiction for Dreamers: A Latinx Anthology, allows several authors a chance to explore the themes of identity and belonging through the lens of speculative fiction. Focusing on a new generation of authors also gives new perspectives on ever enduring themes such as identity and the desire to belong. The anthology starts off with a mysterious young boy with strange dreams, a mother who sews and keeps dark secrets, and a world in which neither are welcomed. Another story deals with a future America that is divided along the lines of culture and race leading to secession and the establishment of new nations. Each story allows the author a chance to explore a world set by their own rules and thoughts. The outcomes are intriguing and give widely different answers to the question of what if?
Come check out these books and more at A.K. Smiley Public Library.