My People Redux
Author: Angela Trudell Vasquez
Publisher: Finishing Line Press (2022)
The poems in the collection My People Redux travel through time. We go back and forth between the present, "They Could Be Sisters," and the past, "Goose Eggs," not just the poet's past but that of her ancestors who came to the Midwest from Mexico in the late 1800s, as displayed in the piece, "My People Redux." The poet's voice is always female and strong, but also vulnerable as in the poem, "Child Pose Cannot Hold." These are poems of race, ethnicity, gender, and class. There are also mystical poems in this collection and things the poet cannot explain like in the piece, "Once in Seattle" and in "The Congregation." In Trudell Vasquez's fourth collection her concerns are the same as in all of her previous collections but her way of approaching the page varies. The poet travels in this collection: from Madison to Seattle, Santa Fe, Des Moines, Milwaukee, Washington D.C., Chicago, and outside of the country too, to the Caribbean to Isla Mujeres in Mexico. In the poem, "Everybody is Somebody's Child," we are given a glimpse of the poet's concern for all people across the globe. Ever present in all the work is nature, the poet's appreciation for the natural world and all its creatures, but especially the least fortunate among us.
"My People Redux is a masterful assemblage of image, lyric, and narrative that honors land and lineage. Through dazzling delineations of domesticity and class struggle, Trudell Vasquez contends with generational hardships immigrant families face in making a life in America. These poems are brimming with craft and compassion."
"Vasquez's poems are touchstones of the heart. These are poems steeped in the subtextual energy of generational strength, rising toward the light of hope like a whale breaching-the head first leap and the consequential splash-that moment when past, present, and future converge, pulling fragments of experience into a permanent oneness of being."
"In My People Redux, Angela Trudell Vasquez creates in vivid images and musical language a world where children 'cycle, talk, sing-' run, dangle from tree limbs, hunt, peer, trample, and search. In their joyful activity they realize, 'This is where my power / started flowing.' It is not a trouble-free world. Children played in the DDT-laced cornfields; refugees are turned away at the border. Sometimes a person 'crawls to the finish line.' But it is also a world where 'Everybody is somebody's child' and there are people 'who will throw open their doors/ and let them in, let them in.' It is also a world where "pen can tap into my brain, // reveal what is hiding, // not to court friends or foes, // but to keep from disappearing. In these compelling poems, Vasquez welcomes us to recover with her what the great grandfather knew, 'the original place of green grace.'"
"My People Redux, by Angie Trudell Vasquez, springs and bounces with the joys of children, the tenacity of courageous women, and the struggles of Latinos. Spare but vivid, her language grips you, and her stories grab you. In 'Blizzard,' for instance, you can feel her knuckles ache as she hangs onto the wheel. Throughout she gives meaning to poetry: 'poetry props spine.' And in 'Epilogue,' she spells out more reasons for why she writes poems. Here's one: 'to save myself from/falling into the abyss of busyness.' So much to relish and to ruminate on in this wonderful collection!"