The Pink Box by Yesenia Montilla (2015)
Emerging Poets & Writers Series
Praise for The Pink Box:
I love how the poems of The Pink Box record the mind as it makes difficult and intimate discoveries about race, family, and history. This poet crafts language from the familiar, the conversational, the everyday…and then the poem’s a jolt to the senses, as if to ask, “What did I really see?” The spirit of observation and wonder animates these poems. I’m grateful for the way they break us open and break open our sight. I’m so delighted to welcome Yesenia Montilla’s poetic debut. ~ Patrick Rosal, author of Uprock Headspin Scramble and Dive, American Kundiman, & Boneshepherds
When I read, in an early poem in Yesenia Montilla’s The Pink Box, the lines, “the orange tree / that stood in my aunt’s yard / became my first lover,” I was snared. Snared by a voice quirky and tender and hurt and seared with longing and the imagination that longing requires. This is a lovely and important debut. ~Ross Gay, author of Against Which & Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude
The Pink Box has been waiting for us. It has been waiting for our ears to see these poems, for our eyes to listen to them. Yesenia Montilla’s poems cross fertilize space and time; linking the wilderness, the city, and an otherworld like a subway ride from uptown to downtown, cross town and back. Along the way, we don’t just switch trains, we switch stations of desire: the Dominican Republic is the blues, Ayiti/Haiti is jazz, hip hop is abuelita. New York City begins on Hispaniola. Is it longing we hear? Or is it the crash of one island against another? Yes, there is yearning in these poems; for touch, for visibility, for a tongue not forgotten though not spoken, for bachata and merengue. And there is spirit; something unseen, called forth, like Dominican Gaga rooted in the bateyes, the sugar cane fields, of memory. Not only does Yesenia Montilla make a weaving of magic in these remarkable and tender poems, magic is its own holiness here. ~Alexis De Veaux author Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde & Yabo
Yesenia Montilla is a New York City poet with Afro-Caribbean roots. Her poetry has appeared in the Chapbook For The Crowns Of Your Head, as well as the literary journals: 5AM, Adanna, The Wide Shore and others. A CantoMundo Fellow, she received her MFA from Drew University in Poetry and Poetry in Translation. The Pink Box is her first collection.