Each and Her
Author: Valerie Martínez
Publisher: The University of Arizona Press (2010)
In 2004 twenty-eight women and young girls were murdered in Ciudad Juárez and the surrounding areas. The tragedy escalated to fifty-eight murders in 2006, then again to eighty-six in 2008, and current estimates top four hundred deaths. Now poet Valerie Martínez offers a poetic exploration of these events, pushing boundaries—stylistically and artistically—with vivid poems that contextualize femicide.
Martínez departs from traditional narrative to reveal the hidden effects and outcomes of the horrific and heart-wrenching cases of femicide. These poems—lyric fragments and prose passages that form a collage—have an intricate relation to one another, creating a complex literary quilt that feels like it can be read from the beginning, the end, or anywhere in between. Martínez is personally invested in the topic, evoking the loss of her sister, and Each and Her emerges as a biography of sorts and a compelling homage to all those who have suffered. Other authors may elaborate on or investigate this topic, but Martínez humanizes it by including names, quotations, realistic details, and stark imagery.
The women of Juárez, like other women around the world, are ravaged by inequality, discontinuity, politics, and economic plagues that contribute to gender violence. Martínez offers us a poignant and alarming glance into another world with these never-before-told stories. Her refreshing and explosive voice will keep readers transfixed and intrigued about these events and emotions—removed from us and yet so close to the heart.