Each and Her
By Valerie Martinez
(University of Arizona Press, Paperback, 9780816528592, 96pp.)
Publication Date: September 2010
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In 2004 twenty-eight women and young girls were murdered in Ciudad Juárez and the surrounding areas. The tragedy escalated to fifty-eight murders in 2006, then again to eighty-six in 2008, and current estimates top four hundred deaths. Now poet Valerie Martínez offers a poetic exploration of these events, pushing boundariesstylistically and artisticallywith vivid poems that contextualize femicide.
Martínez departs from traditional narrative to reveal the hidden effects and outcomes of the horrific and heart-wrenching cases of femicide. These poemslyric fragments and prose passages that form a collagehave an intricate relation to one another, creating a complex literary quilt that feels like it can be read from the beginning, the end, or anywhere in between. Martínez is personally invested in the topic, evoking the loss of her sister, and Each and Her emerges as a biography of sorts and a compelling homage to all those who have suffered. Other authors may elaborate on or investigate this topic, but Martínez humanizes it by including names, quotations, realistic details, and stark imagery.
The women of Juárez, like other women around the world, are ravaged by inequality, discontinuity, politics, and economic plagues that contribute to gender violence. Martínez offers us a poignant and alarming glance into another world with these never-before-told stories. Her refreshing and explosive voice will keep readers transfixed and intrigued about these events and emotionsremoved from us and yet so close to the heart.
Valerie Martínez is the author of several books, including World to World, published by the University of Arizona Press. Her poems, essays, and translations have also appeared in The Best American Poetry, American Poetry Review, Puerto del Sol, and The Latino Poetry Review. Martínez is the Poet Laureate for the city of Santa Fe for 20082010.
"Martinez masterfully employs a unique form, compiling small poems and pieces of poems and found poems, as if gathering clues, or 'scraps / of women’s clothes' as if following a trail that would somehow lead her back to the girls and the women lost. Her adept use of white space and delicate emotion makes the prospect of turning away from the world she makes more difficult than following her more deeply into the text. . . . She demands that we regard the lives which have beenand continue to belost in the dark." ForeWord Reviews