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Vanessa Angélica Villarreal

Visiting Writer 2019

About Vanessa Angélica Villarreal

Vanessa Angélica Villarreal was born in the Rio Grande Valley borderlands to formerly undocumented Mexican immigrants. She is the author of the collection Beast Meridian (Noemi Press, Akrilica Series, 2017), winner of the John A. Robertson Award for Best First Book of Poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters and a Kate Tufts Discovery Award finalist. Her work has been featured in BuzzFeed, the Academy of American Poets, The Boston Review, The Rumpus, The Los Angeles Times, NBC News, and elsewhere. She is a CantoMundo Fellow, and is currently pursuing her doctorate in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she is raising her son with the help of a loyal dog.

More About Vanessa Angélica Villarreal

Kaylor, Stephanie. "Review of Beast Meridian by Vanessa Angélica Villarreal." Glass: A Journal of Poetry, April 10, 2018.

...Beast Meridian challenges many notions of what poetry can accomplish through the deconstruction of form and language and the reconstruction of identity and history as a result thereof.

Membreno, Soraya. "Soraya Membreno Interviews Vickie Vértiz & Vanessa Angélica Villarreal." Poetry Foundation, October 10th, 2017.

"Beast Meridian started as a project of trying to write myself into existence. I remember reading a lot of Chicanx work and feeling like it was so varied, what every poet and every writer was trying to do with their books, yet it all gets lumped together as this documentarian project of “this is how my abuela was” and “this is how it felt like to be poor” and “this is what it felt like to do this.”"

Villarreal, Vanessa A. "Chirality." Botson Review, April 28, 2018.

On the other side of the mirror I see that poisoned life, each molecule built so backward even the water became poison.

More precisely: thrashed in the spiral seawater makes between rocks.

Butterfly, web history, thyroid, locked phone, the spill of tablets on the kitchen counter, I carried your child.

Reduced to evidence, the state sees your point: Hispanic female, 35, 208 lbs.

---. "A Field of Onions: Brown Study." The Paris Review, March 20, 2019.

1. I walk through a bald field blooming violet onions. I will know I am absolved when there is no more dirt underfoot, when I have flipped the earth and the river runs above us, a glassed belldark sound.

2. To find: liver, lung, womb. A lens cut from vulture eye. This is what it is to miss a thing.

3. At the McDonald’s, a man in a parked car will talk himself awake. This is another kind of hunger.

4. A prayer for the king: forty pears, all bloomed from young throats. Long life, a sea of rice, a thicket of braids.

5. Problem: Four boats arranged in a cross drift away from each other in opposing directions. What theory states that, all conditions remaining equal, they can reach each other again on the other side of a perfect globe?

6. To understand a map is to shrink the world; to plan; to color.