poem index


Rosa Alcalá

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Rosa Alcalá

Rosa Alcalá was born and raised in Paterson, New Jersey. She received an MFA from Brown University and a PhD from SUNY Buffalo.

She is the author of the poetry collections MyOTHER TONGUE (Futurepoem, 2017), The Lust of Unsentimental Waters (Shearsman Books, 2012), and Undocumentaries (Shearsman Books, 2010). Of her work, Carmen Giménez Smith writes, “Rose Alcalá’s poems dwell in the liminal space between the personal and the political—poems built on the idea that ‘the world exists,’ and that work to define the metaphysical and ephemeral architectures of origin, migration, nationalism, and loss.”

Alcalá is also the editor of Spit Temple: The Selected Performances of Cecilia Vicuña (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012) and Cecilia Vicuña: New & Selected Poems (Kelsey Street Press, 2018). Her translations include Bestiary: The Selected Poems of Lourdres Vázquez (Bilingual Press, 2004).

Alcalá teaches in the bilingual MFA program at the University of Texas at El Paso. She lives in El Paso, Texas.

Selected Bibliography

MyOTHER TONGUE (Futurepoem, 2017)
The Lust of Unsentimental Waters (Shearsman Books, 2012)
Undocumentaries (Shearsman Books, 2010)

by this poet


She tosses a bolt of fabric into the air. Hill country, prairie, a horse trots there. I say three yards, and her eyes say more: What you need is guidance, a hand that can zip a scissor through cloth. What you need is a picture of what you've lost. To double the width against the window for the gathering, consider


Why the image just now of a bullet entering the mouth? Why call it raw, when it isn’t sticky and pink like a turkey meatball, just the usual: gold, and shiny, and cylindrical? What about this bullet is uncooked? Why does it multiply with you in parka or short skirt, versions of the you that you were, swallowing raw

(for Sergio Mondragón)

The body's hidden face
removed of its excesses
is cooked into a codex
that reads:          
this little piggy went to market            
this little piggy piled high
what's meant by surface.
Everywhere a nation awaits, 
a cardboard