Author: Alexandra Lytton Regalado
Publisher: Beacon Press (2022)
When COVID-19 broke and the United States closed the border to travel, Alexandra Lytton Regalado was separated from family back in El Salvador. She wrote Relinquenda entirely during lockdown as a meditation on cancer, the passing of her father, and the renewed significance of community.
The central part of the collection focuses on her father during his 6-year struggle with cancer and considers how his stoicism, alcoholism, and hermitage might serve as mirror and warning. In contrast, she dedicates other poems to what it means for daughters, mothers, and wives to care for another as reflected in her relationships with the men in her life.
Situated in the tropical landscapes of Miami, Florida, and El Salvador, the poems also negotiate the meaning of home, reflecting on immigration and the ties between United States and El Salvador 30 years after her birth country’s decade-long civil war.
In a lyrical and often bilingual voice, Regalado explores the impermanence and the body, communication and inarticulation, and the need to let go in order to heal regrets.
“A very moving and profound book by one of the most significant LGBTQ+ voices coming from Latin America.”
–The Morning Star
“Resilient, introspective, and reverent.”
“Relinquenda is a rarity in that, in one book, it contains multiplicity of longings and reckonings. Alexandra Regalado is poet as historian, and poet as that family member we all have who keeps the names in whatever holy book we name, the one who has the photo albums—and more than that, who we gather around when they begin to sing our stories.”
–Reginald Dwayne Betts