Black Lawrence Press

Wake the Others


  • “[E]ach wound in my flesh / becomes a mouth / so kiss so chant so swallow” sings the piece titled “Said Cipactli to her son.” Deceptively straightforward, this tercet is emblematic of the art Willy Palomo unfurls in this arresting debut, foregrounding, I would argue, a particular gender-conscious poetics—“some call it double labor / —the way our mothers raised children working // doubles & cooking dinners for mangy men piss-drunk / on cheap beer—but it was more than that.” Indeed: the toolbox on display here, deployed in poem after poem, startled me, took my breath away.
    —Francisco Aragón
  • Willy Palomo’s outstanding debut takes a scalpel to the heart of biography as a genre, cuts through to the arteries of inherited nostalgia for a motherland, and opens the capillaries of a mama, abuela, and bisabuela’s traumas. This book is a gut wrenching family narrative of the history of violence in El Salvador and a family’s journey north in hope of stability and the possibility of joy. Palomo’s poems are an important and unique addition to the growing voice of Central American writers in the United States.
    —Natalie Scenters-Zapico

Willy Palomo

Willy Palomo is the son of two immigrants from El Salvador. He is a McNair Scholar, Macondista, and a Frost Place Latin@ Scholar. He has performed his poetry (inter)nationally at the National Poetry Slam, CUPSI, and V Festival Internacional de Poesía Amada Libertad in El Salvador. His book reviews and creative writing have been featured in Best New Poets 2018, Latino Rebels, Button Poetry, PBS, The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the United States, and more. His first collection of poetry is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in 2020. Follow them @palomopoemas and

Palomo © Pablo Sigüenza Author page

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