Every poet and writer must read ire’ne lara silva. Her ability to create danza (dance), song, and justice creates a literary altar that honors our ancestors. Rooted in the indigeneity of Chicanx and Latinx identity, lara silva binds together past, present, and future. Her work is a piece of the foundation which holds up our spiritual mestizaje in poetic form.
In Blood, Sugar, Canto (Saddle Road Press, 2016), ire’ne lara silva creates medicine in intricate poems that speak to the diabetic people we know and love. The poem “diabetic epidemic” takes us from familial to “so many people of color so many poor and working class…” (33). She ends the book with “there will be singing in the morning” assuring her reader that “we will sing impossible songs…” (95) as we watch her glide in the air with her wings and her canto.
Within the pages of Entre Guadalupe y Malinche: Tejanas in Literature and Art (University of Texas Press, 2016), we find her poem, “en trozos/in pieces.” She honors the body as we learn about the amputation of life and of limbs due to diabetes. As she reflects on the fear of losing her own body limb by limb, she delivers us a love story we can all resonate with.
…oh body cuerpecito mío /
how many years i wasted not loving you /
judging you for what they said you lacked /
for what you were too much off /
too big too dark too fat too short to india /
too masculine not pretty enough not feminine enough /
not worthy of love / what does any of that matter now… (286).
I am on edge awaiting her next book available January 2019 to be published by Saddle Road Press. This next book of songs and gritos is titled Cuicacalli which is Nahuatl for house of songs. I once described gritos as prayers projected from the throat. In her workshop on gritos, ire’ne had everyone on their feet, digging deep within themselves to loosen these howls that seemed to have been stuck inside of us for centuries. I remember a woman who did yoga, and never once tried a grito, became overwhelmed with emotion. She likened the grito to yoga because it involved the entire body.
ire’ene lara silva’s new work will surely speak to and from the entire body as does all her poetry and fiction. For a lesson in prayer, and on writing from the tension between struggle and hope, do not miss reading ire’ene lara silva’s work.
Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros is a Tejana poet and freelance writer. Her work has appeared at On Being, The Rumpus, Rock & Sling, The Acentos Review, among others. She is a Jack Sr. and Doris McCord Smothers scholar at Our Lady of the Lake University where she is a graduate student in the MA program with emphases in literature, creative writing, and social justice.
Read Carolina’s poem “Madre.”