Sara Lupita Olivares’s Migratory Sound, winner of the 2020 CantoMundo Poetry Prize, looks back to generational narratives of Mexican American migration, examining linguistic and geographic boundaries as it journeys north along routes of seasonal fieldwork and factory labor. “Whether enacting a bird migration, or the uprooting of people relocating north, or the private movement from sleep to alert vigilance,” series editors Carolina Ebeid and Carmen Giménez Smith observe, “Olivares’s stark poetry concerns the precarious idea of place and its underlying ‘unplace.’ She makes evident how every place bears a relationship with an elsewhere, an over there sometimes situated underneath.”
“This is a rare, evocative, and haunting book,” writes Roberto Tejada, the 2020 series judge. “For its sparse song of indwelling in landscapes of austerity; for its understanding of description as a function subordinate to wakefulness of mind, for its process of perception that splits the difference between animal and oblivion, habit and habitat, doubt and debt—I found myself returning again and again to its atmospheric method of knowing; to its structure of restraint and elegance.”
Sara Lupita Olivares is the author of the chapbook Field Things (dancing girl press). Her poems have appeared in Gulf Coast, Denver Quarterly, Salt Hill Journal, DIAGRAM, the Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. The recipient of a PhD from Western Michigan University, she is assistant professor of English at New Mexico Highlands University.