Blood Orange by Angela Narciso Torres

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Part memoir, part love letter to the Philippines of her youth, Blood Orange is a poignant, yet powerful collection by Angela Narciso Torres, the 2013 Willow Books Literature Awards Grand Prize Winner for Poetry.

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Praise for Blood Orange

The person who finds his homeland sweet is still a tender beginner; she to whom every soil is as her native one is already strong; but she is perfect to whom the entire world is as a foreign place,” so Hugh of St. Victor wrote over six hundred years ago . . . In Blood Orange, these words find a rich and vitally new embodiment for our own time. At once vividly present in the moment and fully attuned to the under-dwelling currents of history . . . Torres’ poems affirm and achieve a hard-won continuity of feeling and insight. [These] poems move with the fluid assurance of a dancer, and sing with enviable lyric grace.

~Daniel Tobin, author of five books of poems including Second Things and Belated Heavens, 2011 Massachusetts Book Award winner

Because paying attention is a form of prayer, Angela Narciso Torres’s poems pay deep and close attention. The details of these poems are stitched together with great care, and what we get is not just the landscape of memory but also the landscape of family, which in the end is the god we really pray to when we are restless. These are beautiful and beautifully made poems.

~C. Dale Young, poetry editor of New England Review and author of Torn and The Second Person

There’s something lush and holy in these poems that slip between generations, between daughterhood and motherhood. Blood Orange elegantly charts the mysteries of family and place, time and its uncertainties, with a keen vision that is at once sensual, entrancing and deeply felt. Line by careful line, Torres brings forward an enchanting poetry, with “two fingers on the pulse like the true point / of a divining rod,” always ready to lead us to water or love—the currents that shimmer beneath this book’s rich surfaces.

~Matthew Olzmann, author of Mezzanines, winner of the 2011 Kundiman Poetry Prize

 When she sees a branch bent by the weight of blood oranges, when she remembers the warm scent of night jasmine drifting into the window from the porch, when she describes her father’s care with the remnant of a bar of soap gone thin during the days of her mother’s absence—what Torres finds, beyond the tropical landscape of her childhood, is the amazing vividness of a world that flourishes in the moment of its vanishing.”

~Brooks Haxton, author of several books of poetry including They Lift Their Wings to Cry, and professor in the MFA writing programs of Syracuse University and Warren Wilson College

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Angela Narciso Torres is the winner of the Willow Books Literature Award for poetry. Recent work appears in Cimarron Review, Colorado Review, and Cream City Review. A graduate of Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Angela has received fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, Ragdale Foundation, and Midwest Writing Center. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Manila, she currently resides in Chicago, where she teaches poetry workshops and serves as a senior poetry editor for RHINO.

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