American Poems

Azahara Palomeque • Translated from Spanish by Sean Manning

SEPT ’20 • ISBN: 978-1-887276-26-9 • $ 19.95

“Azahara Palomeque’s American Poems is a book about living between new and old words, as one of her poems suggest. To be translated is to be transported from one place to another, wittingly or unwittingly. But regardless, the experience can be both exhilarating and painful, and this is what the Spanish-born Palomeque captures in these poems: childhood memories, unrecoverable distances, friendships and relationships, warm and frozen landscapes, and even the light of a sun that is never the same sun. Ms. Palomeque’s crisp, nuanced writing, both in Spanish and in translation reminds us that living between worlds always entails “another sort of touch.” In that sense, American Poems reminds us that being translated, or moved, is never about equivalence, but rather about the difficulty and richness of living life in the hyphen, as Gustavo Pérez Firmat has said; or as Edward Said, has put it, living “between the self and its true home”—wherever that “true” home may be.”



How does it feel to confront a foreign world while speaking a strange language? Can an immigrant ever overcome the nostalgia for the lost country, for the family and friends who were left behind, for the old self that used to be? American Poems describes the deep sense of uprooting that permeates the immigrant experience, and the nuances of a wound which never heals but keeps changing its appearance and meaning as time goes by. Through a rich, witty imagery taken from her surroundings –the snow, the Canadian geese who console the author in her gelid nights–, as well as a careful elaboration of musicality, the fragmented body faces a cultural landscape seen for the first time while adapting to a territory that reveals always uneasiness for the new comer. Originally titled American Poems in its Spanish version, this book narrates the process of becoming someone else from the beginning of a journey that still continues. In its pages, the reader will learn about the arrival moment, with multiple checkpoints and stamps that mark the lyric voice’s identity; about the tough winters and recently embraced work rhythms; about the causes of displacement –the 2008 financial crisis– and their most intimate consequences, all of that expressed with meticulously crafted lines that speak to the mastery of the Hispanic poetic tradition. It is a book that will leave no one indifferent, everyone interrogating their own belonging and displacements.


Azahara Palomeque (El Sur, 1986) is a Spanish poet and writer. She is the author of the bilingual chapbook El Diente del Lobo/ The Wolf’s Tooth (Carmina in minina re, 2014), the poetry books American Poems (La Isla de Siltolá, 2015), En la Ceniza Blanca de las Encías (La Isla de Siltolá, 2017), R.I.P (Rest in Plastic) (RiL Editores, 2019), and the essay Año 9. Crónicas catastróficas en la Era Trump (RiL Editores, 2020). She has published numerous poems in cultural journals and magazines in Spain, Latin America and the United States; her work has been partially translated into Greek and English and has been included in several anthologies. Palomeque has been invited to do readings at several U.S. universities, the NY Public Library, the Philadelphia Latin American Book Fair, and the NY Instituto Cervantes, among others. She is also a renowned journalist and op-ed contributor for two independent Spanish newspapers: La Marea and CTXT. Palomeque holds a Ph.D. in Spanish and Latin American Cultural Studies from Princeton University and resides in Philadelphia. American Poems is her first fully translated book, now available for an English-speaking audience in Coolgrove.