Lessons on Expulsion
An award-winning and hard-hitting new voice in contemporary American poetryThe first time I ever came the light was weak and carnivorous.I covered my eyes and the night cleared its dumb throat.I heard my mother wringing her hands the next morning.Of course I put my underwear on backwards, of course the elastic didn't work.What I wanted most at that moment was a sandwich.But I just nursed on this leather whip.I just splattered my sheets with my sadness. —from “Poem of My Humiliations”“What is life but a cross / over rotten water?” Poet, novelist, and essayist Erika L. Sánchez’s powerful debut poetry collection explores what it means to live on both sides of the border—the border between countries, languages, despair and possibility, and the living and the dead. Sánchez tells her own story as the daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants and as part of a family steeped in faith, work, grief, and expectations. The poems confront sex, shame, race, and an America roiling with xenophobia, violence, and laws of suspicion and suppression. With candor and urgency, and with the unblinking eyes of a journalist, Sánchez roves from the individual life into the lives of sex workers, narco-traffickers, factory laborers, artists, and lovers. What emerges is a powerful, multifaceted portrait of survival. Lessons on Expulsion is the first book by a vibrant, essential new writer now breaking into the national literary landscape.

Lessons on Expulsion Details

TitleLessons on Expulsion
Author
ReleaseJul 11th, 2017
PublisherGraywolf Press
ISBN-139781555977788
Rating
GenrePoetry, Fiction, Feminism

Lessons on Expulsion Review

  • Ellie
    January 1, 1970
    A moving, often sad, collection of poems.Erika Sanchez is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and her poems are filled with their struggles and her own. Her feeling like she has failed to be their ideal daughter. Sex and its pleasures and its failures. Suicide attempts and mass murders in Brazil and other Latin American countries, as well as in Mexico. Loss, loss, and more loss told with brilliant imagery and metaphors.A powerful group of poems.
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  • Erica Wright
    January 1, 1970
    Startling, assertive, wild, & wonderful. One of my favorite collections so far this year.
  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    "And when the meaning is all gutted / from the day / I will delight / in the sticky mess, in a swirl / so deep I forget myself."This month's #3sunpoetry challenge was to read a book from a Latinx poet. I had heard good things about Lessons on Expulsion, so I decided to pick that up. This book was so damn good, and I fell in love with it. Erika L. Sanchez's poems are haunting. She is bold and honest, and digs into the grittiness of the situations that she covers. This collection was pretty dark, "And when the meaning is all gutted / from the day / I will delight / in the sticky mess, in a swirl / so deep I forget myself."This month's #3sunpoetry challenge was to read a book from a Latinx poet. I had heard good things about Lessons on Expulsion, so I decided to pick that up. This book was so damn good, and I fell in love with it. Erika L. Sanchez's poems are haunting. She is bold and honest, and digs into the grittiness of the situations that she covers. This collection was pretty dark, and I found so much to connect with here. I also loved hearing her perspective on race issues in the poems, and so many of them were heartbreaking. My top 5 poems in Lessons on Expulsion we're Quinceanera, Spring, Ama, Hija de la Chingada, and Self Portrait. Erika captures loss and the anger of teen girls so fucking well. I can't recommend this book enough, so just trust me that you need it in your life.
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  • Jonathan
    January 1, 1970
    While the collection of poems is well-written, it returns to the same well, over and over again, throughout. If a poem isn't about the debasement of sex (in general), it has to use either "Shit" or "Excrement" as a metaphor. Overall, the poems weren't my cup of tea. A lot of were ugly and/or unpleasant. There were some interesting gleanings on the effects of poverty, the emotional ramifications, and how seeing yourself through the lens of treatment can lead to a continuous self-undoing; and if t While the collection of poems is well-written, it returns to the same well, over and over again, throughout. If a poem isn't about the debasement of sex (in general), it has to use either "Shit" or "Excrement" as a metaphor. Overall, the poems weren't my cup of tea. A lot of were ugly and/or unpleasant. There were some interesting gleanings on the effects of poverty, the emotional ramifications, and how seeing yourself through the lens of treatment can lead to a continuous self-undoing; and if this had been the "meat" of the work, I might have liked the book a bit more. But the lack of focus, (or the focus only in on self-loathing and the loathing of others in turn), isn't quite my favorite form of poetry.
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  • CAG_1337
    January 1, 1970
    What's all the fuss about this collection for? These days it seems all it takes to be hailed as a poet is to string together some dark imagery from your deeply dysfunctional life (bonus points if you are from one marginalized group or another so that middle America can be delightfully shocked and awestruck by your wretched existence).Be all that as it may, these aren't even particularly poetic. Meh...that's all...just 70 pages of meh. Oh, but I'm sure this work will be quite highly praised. So y What's all the fuss about this collection for? These days it seems all it takes to be hailed as a poet is to string together some dark imagery from your deeply dysfunctional life (bonus points if you are from one marginalized group or another so that middle America can be delightfully shocked and awestruck by your wretched existence).Be all that as it may, these aren't even particularly poetic. Meh...that's all...just 70 pages of meh. Oh, but I'm sure this work will be quite highly praised. So you ought to read it soon lest you miss the opportunity to say you "liked her poetry before it became popular."
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  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    These poems were a bit too visceral for my taste. Took me a long time to get through, can only withstand sandpaper on skin for so long, ya know? It’s clear that the crude, raw feel was what the poet was going for, so if that’s what you want, delve in.
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  • Caiti S
    January 1, 1970
    Didn't really connect with these poems. There's a lot of powerful and visceral imagery, but I ended up only really liking two or three poems. It was one of those collections that I left feeling like I still don't really "get" poetry.
  • Sam
    January 1, 1970
    If I had to pick one word to describe Lessons on Expulsion, it would be “brutal.” The eye-catching cover, depicting a woman wearing a white-skinned, rosy-cheeked mask sewn to her face but torn, seems very appropriate, because of the comments on race, beauty standards, and desire. I would like to know if it was painting specifically for this book or not. “Lessons,” the author’s first poetry collection, wields sex like a weapon. This is not a straightforward story of “young girl from conservative If I had to pick one word to describe Lessons on Expulsion, it would be “brutal.” The eye-catching cover, depicting a woman wearing a white-skinned, rosy-cheeked mask sewn to her face but torn, seems very appropriate, because of the comments on race, beauty standards, and desire. I would like to know if it was painting specifically for this book or not. “Lessons,” the author’s first poetry collection, wields sex like a weapon. This is not a straightforward story of “young girl from conservative background discovers sexuality and frees herself from repressive situation.” Sometimes we do read about the discovery and revelation of sexuality, but it is always with a hard edge, as one poem concludes with this heartbreaking series of lines: “Now you’re a grown woman / who can fuck her way across the world, / if she wants. / But when you wrap yourself / around your man, / when he yanks your hair / the way you like, / you still ask him to pretend / as if you hold a beautiful rapture / between your legs. / You still ask him to pretend / as if you’re human” (“Hija de la Chingada” 27). In this world, sex starts at pleasure and ends in power. “Orchid” follows a similar, terrible path, begun with a terribly misogynistic quote from the Marquis de Sade about woman’s lack of a right to control over her own body. The first lines describe a young girl’s contemplation of dyed-blonde prostitutes, whose tired looks contrast with her young mind’s idealized idea of what it means to be blonde and white. Then we are in Paris, as an early-20s woman contemplates the sexual desire in a Manet painting. Then the poem returns to the world of prostitutes, and the marks that their work leaves: “My boyfriend lives next to a motel now, / in the urban blight of a desert city, / and after lunch today, a woman in gray sweats / walks past his house toward a mammoth SUV. / She walks slowly, as if splintered, as if / something is already inside her” (39). Throughout the book, there are references to Mexico’s drug culture and the poetic speaker’s desire/attempts to expand her horizons beyond the backbreaking labor that her immigrant parents have endured, but those did not stick with me as much. I honestly really dislike the blurb on the back from Juan Felipe Herrera. His description “this is the underground candy of the flower-stomper & mother-breaker” trivializes a brutal poem about rape (Rompe-madres is a character in "Narco"). Painting the world of "Lessons on Expulsion" as some sort of upside-down, carnivalesque world that delights in shocking the square folks is an oversimplification. Yes, it's shocking and, yes, it challenges our notions of what is and is not acceptable behavior, but it doesn't celebrate those things for their own sake. Sánchez pushes us out of our zones so that we will question how things have gotten to how they are, and whether they might need to change.While his words may be less bombastic, I prefer Eduardo Corral’s description, which sits at the top of the back cover: “Sánchez makes visible the violence striking down Mexican women living on the border and interrogates the historical and the familial origins of misogyny. Her deft braiding of the beautiful and the grotesque infuses her language with a shimmering rawness and a startling immediacy.” This book is dealing with deep-seated issues, things stretching across generations and traditions--if we break with long-held conservativism, are we doomed to a world of "might is right"?“Enjoy” is not the right word for my experience of this book, but it punched me in the face more than once and I will be thinking about it for quite some time. Sáchez’s voice is powerful.
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    Erika L. Sánchez’s poetry is hard to forget once you first read it – and it’s not just because of her searing, vibrant writing voice. Her first book of poetry, LESSONS ON EXPULSION, shares her upbringing in the U.S. as the daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants and how her culture and personal attitudes and beliefs have shaped her perception of the world. She delivers anecdotes on factory workers, teenagers, prostitutes, assault victims, and drug traffickers with a journalist’s frankness, a Erika L. Sánchez’s poetry is hard to forget once you first read it – and it’s not just because of her searing, vibrant writing voice. Her first book of poetry, LESSONS ON EXPULSION, shares her upbringing in the U.S. as the daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants and how her culture and personal attitudes and beliefs have shaped her perception of the world. She delivers anecdotes on factory workers, teenagers, prostitutes, assault victims, and drug traffickers with a journalist’s frankness, a painter’s surrealism, and a lover’s restlessness. As a result, her work is rich with sensory details, hard questions, and startling images that lay bare the ugliness and wrongness of what she sees. This raw, unflinching collection might make some poetry readers uneasy at times. But it’s also a necessary book for the here and now, without question.
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  • Laurel L. Perez
    January 1, 1970
    The collection is full of a range confessional poems—some s are so up-close that the reader feels like a voyeur: “we braid our bodies together/ on my twin bed. I dig my face into his beard… we eat two slippery eggs and drink coffee with frothy milk” (from “Lavapiés”). No matter the length of the focus, abstracted from time or in the moment, body imagery is used powerfully to texture and give vitality to the poems. In “Self-Portrait”, Sanchez writes, “My tongue grows plump/ as a greedy slug./ Aga The collection is full of a range confessional poems—some s are so up-close that the reader feels like a voyeur: “we braid our bodies together/ on my twin bed. I dig my face into his beard… we eat two slippery eggs and drink coffee with frothy milk” (from “Lavapiés”). No matter the length of the focus, abstracted from time or in the moment, body imagery is used powerfully to texture and give vitality to the poems. In “Self-Portrait”, Sanchez writes, “My tongue grows plump/ as a greedy slug./ Again and again,/ an umbrella,/ opens inside me.” Bodies inside bodies inside the reader’s body. The power of Lessons on Expulsion—to confront history’s challenge. With lushness of phrasing and dynamic displays of body and joy and despair and hurt, Sanchez’s collection strikes like human natural disasters.
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  • Lucy
    January 1, 1970
    This book knocked my socks off. Raw, feminist, confessional with striking word combinations. To read this is to understand what it is to be of two cultures. In Crossing, Sanchez starts with her parents immigration to the States and ends with the devastatingly beautiful lines to her mother: "I tell her how I want to understand the violence tangled in this tissue, the desert threaded in this flesh." Best poetry book I've read all year. I shit you not!
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  • Courtney Hatch
    January 1, 1970
    I give the cover art by Judithe Hernandez 5 giant gold stars. Favorite lines:“I call my mother to explainhow I scour landscapes, fold themand keep them in a soft leather bag.I tell her how I want to understandthe violence tangled in this tissue,the desert threaded in this flesh.”It wasn’t my all-time favorite book of poetry, but I found Sanchez’s use of both English and Spanish to be very effective. It seemed that many poems were hitting the same note, though. She is really great at creating sta I give the cover art by Judithe Hernandez 5 giant gold stars. Favorite lines:“I call my mother to explainhow I scour landscapes, fold themand keep them in a soft leather bag.I tell her how I want to understandthe violence tangled in this tissue,the desert threaded in this flesh.”It wasn’t my all-time favorite book of poetry, but I found Sanchez’s use of both English and Spanish to be very effective. It seemed that many poems were hitting the same note, though. She is really great at creating startling images, but I don’t necessarily love that over and over. Heads up: some rough language/images here
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  • Glenda
    January 1, 1970
    Often raw and crude, this collection embodies a sense of purposelessness and loneliness, a search for one’s place in a violent, cruel world. “Ama, I leave because / I feel like an unfinished / poem, because I am always trying / to bridge the difference,” writes the poet in “Ama.” I first dipped into “Lessons on Expulsion” a couple months ago but put it aside for awhile. I needed time and space to consider this challenging collection. These poems deserve slow reading and open minds. They confront Often raw and crude, this collection embodies a sense of purposelessness and loneliness, a search for one’s place in a violent, cruel world. “Ama, I leave because / I feel like an unfinished / poem, because I am always trying / to bridge the difference,” writes the poet in “Ama.” I first dipped into “Lessons on Expulsion” a couple months ago but put it aside for awhile. I needed time and space to consider this challenging collection. These poems deserve slow reading and open minds. They confront and challenge ideas about family, place, and sexuality in stark images and allusions to beloved poets like Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman.
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  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    Erika L. Sanchez has become one of my new favorite Latina poets. She writes about the experience of being Latina very accurately and almost relatable. She almost brings out a Sylvia Plath vibe in her poems, "Six months after contemplating suicide," and "The Poet at Fifteen." What I loved the most about her poetry was that the setting of the poems ranged from Mexico, the U.S., and Spain. It's wonderful to read Latina poets who include multicultural elements in their poems.
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  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    One of those collections where it feels like sparks flying from the author's brain to yours.
  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    3.5
  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    Unpleasant and ugly images are used so well here in a brutally honest collection of poetry that will kept me both uncomfortable and amazed. My favorite excerpts (copied and pasted from my Kindle highlights, so I'm sure it will mess with formatting):Some evenings you brim with the sky’s quiet bruising—colors as beautiful as the spilled brains of a bird.In your flamboyant despair, you fail to suck the sweetness from all that is good and holy. Watch the pigeons so lovely in their suffering! In the Unpleasant and ugly images are used so well here in a brutally honest collection of poetry that will kept me both uncomfortable and amazed. My favorite excerpts (copied and pasted from my Kindle highlights, so I'm sure it will mess with formatting):Some evenings you brim with the sky’s quiet bruising—colors as beautiful as the spilled brains of a bird.In your flamboyant despair, you fail to suck the sweetness from all that is good and holy. Watch the pigeons so lovely in their suffering! In the melted fat of the hour, a crust-punk chokes his dog in an empty park. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, the dog whimpers, licking the filth from his wounded feet.Under the corpulent clouds, I feed the birds of my failures, so tenderly!He drags his tongue along his teeth and remembers how easily a body dissolves in a vat of acid, how first, the flesh breaks away, how only the bones endure.The day goes on picking the meat from its teeth.Mercury, mandrake— I am only a girl with this brilliant black nest of eagerness.Finally, when your plump little body wants what it wants, when you are bent in the arc of desire, you take a man inside your mouth in beautiful gulps of summer, until the shame clicks its way toward you like an ancient insect.Now you say you’re a grown woman who can fuck her way across the world, if she wants. But when you wrap yourself around your man, when he yanks your hair the way you like, you still ask him to pretend as if you hold a beautiful rapture between your legs. You still ask him to pretend as if you’re human.You will not work like us. You will not work like a donkey, my mother says in factory heat, the murmur of machines. My meek brother inside his bedroom reading The Grapes of Wrath, The Communist Manifesto, The Catcher in the Rye. He is a good son. Meanwhile, I carve my body with pre-Columbian numbers, dye my hair indigo, crimson, plot rebellion. I say conscience when I mean conscious. To the doctor I describe the pain as existential tumors. I say that the cuts are bloodletting. I cross the Atlantic like no one in my family ever has, to live among the civilized, drink wine, and read Cervantes.This is bold—existing. You do not understand your parents who understand you less: your father who listens to ABBA after work, your mother who eats expired food. How do you explain what you have done? With your hybrid mouth, a split tongue. How do you explain the warmth sucking you open, leaving you like a gutted machine? It is a luxury to tell a story. How do you explain that the words are made by more than your wanting? Te chingas o te jodes. At times when you speak Spanish, your tongue is flaccid inside your rotten mouth: desgraciada, sin vergüenza.Finally, you’ve learned to crawl inside the meat of your silence.A man on the street tears the gold necklace from your mother’s neck— this is how you learn that nothing will belong to you. In your mangled language, you’ll count all the reasons you wish to die, the apartment bristling with roaches. Always the smell of corn oil. But what right do you have to complain about anything, with your clean socks and fat little stomach? Burnt pies from the thrift bakery you shove down your desperate gullet. What can you blame but your rootless eye? Your mind so soft and full of hysterical light. You’ve already learned that your body is a lie.Love, remove your fingers from between my ribs. It’s true; I cup the grief as if it were milk, as if it were the last of water spilled. Quiet, you whistle in my brain like a balloon. What religion is this? Boredom in spring.The poverty of love. Beads of blood. The children came like swarms of locusts: a constellation of sores on a baby’s face, a womb marked by nothing. In meager times, haughty women bequeathed her leftovers filled with napkins and toothpicks—dregs from their finest feasts. The bloody egg was more than a bad omen, they said. That night the wind smelled like wet copper. The diseased mare brayed in the loud suck of mud, and in her winged loneliness, Jacinta severed her braids and begged for the threat of miracles.Watch how I shield my ears from the tiny blades of the cricket song, but I still love the way the evening rages on, its endless shriek of purple cloud.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Violence, sex, lust, death, disappointment, depression, loss--Sanchez doesn't shy away from anything in this collection. She takes all that she inherits with open arms and tries to reconcile this with her self, which is sometimes "other" from this inheritance. Several poems address the hypersexualization foisted upon the speaker as a girl by strange men and by the speaker's mother. Several poems address the hideous violence present in some parts of Mexico due to drug trafficking. These lines clo Violence, sex, lust, death, disappointment, depression, loss--Sanchez doesn't shy away from anything in this collection. She takes all that she inherits with open arms and tries to reconcile this with her self, which is sometimes "other" from this inheritance. Several poems address the hypersexualization foisted upon the speaker as a girl by strange men and by the speaker's mother. Several poems address the hideous violence present in some parts of Mexico due to drug trafficking. These lines close "Las Pulgas":how easily a bodydissolves in a vatof acid, how first, the fleshbreaks away,how only the bones endure."Why waste/time with metaphors? The body/is kindling." Sanchez writes in the poem "Forty-Three." "A man on the street tears the gold/necklace from my mother's neck--/this is how you learn that nothing/will belong to you." she writes in "Girl." These lines open "Hija de la Chingada": The men whistle from their trucks/though you're only 13 and your breasts//are still tucked/meekly inside you.Sanchez is versed in Aztec gods and mythology (Tlaloc, Xolotl, Mictlan, and peoples such as the Tepehuan, Acaxee, and Xixime), and uses them to reimagine history and to inform the present.There are also some beautiful, striking lines:*The glittering women swing/their hips like eternal bells. (La Cueva)*The desert thirst?/A lit branch/in your throat. (Portrait of a Wetback)*Tomorrow/the queen will be picked clean/by the kindness of the sea. (Kingdom of Debt)*In the bioluminescent bay, we are light itself, a glow so blue, the jelly of you quivers and quivers. Mosquitoes feast on our softest parts. / the green sunset strums the finest wires inside us. (Vieques)*What I know best is the color of sun through my own eyelids. (Poem of My Humiliations)In short, reading this volume broadened my world view and delighted my senses.
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  • Ja'net
    January 1, 1970
    As I read this collection, I was very much aware that the poet is quite young; I mean, the poems feel like they are written by someone who doesn't have much experience in the world. There are, in my view, three kinds of poems that populate this book:1. "love" poems that reflect the kind of dysfunctional love/lust relationships that seem normal to young women in their 20s and early 30s but are annoying, stupid, and boring to people ages 35 and above.2. poems about important/appalling things happe As I read this collection, I was very much aware that the poet is quite young; I mean, the poems feel like they are written by someone who doesn't have much experience in the world. There are, in my view, three kinds of poems that populate this book:1. "love" poems that reflect the kind of dysfunctional love/lust relationships that seem normal to young women in their 20s and early 30s but are annoying, stupid, and boring to people ages 35 and above.2. poems about important/appalling things happening in the world that are essentially based not on the author's experiences but on news articles she's read about these events. Now there's nothing wrong with that, but the poems themselves shouldn't feel like news articles; as a reader, you should feel involved in the world the poet paints, but if even she's not involved with it, how can a reader be?3. poems that highlight language for language's sake, poems with lines like "Quiet, you whistle in my brain / like a balloon. / What religion is this? Boredom / in spring." These are the worst offenders, in my opinion, because you get the sense that the editor probably didn't even know what's going on in these messes of images but chose to publish the book anyway for its "fresh perspective" or whatever. But mostly, these poems left zero impression on me. I flew through the book in one sitting and never thought about a single line after I read it. As another reviewer put it, this is a book of "meh." I just don't get all the hype.
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  • Renae
    January 1, 1970
    Poetry, poetry. Always something I’m either really into or something I’m completely indifferent toward. Erika L. Sánchez’s debut collection, Lessons on Expulsion is one I’m absolutely, without a doubt, very, very into. This is the kind of poetry I like: dark, a little despairing, very honest, super feminist, unapologetic about its Latinidad. 10/10 the content I’m here for.Consider the closing section from “Hija de la Chingada,” a poem about sexuality, shame, mothers, and coming of age: Now you s Poetry, poetry. Always something I’m either really into or something I’m completely indifferent toward. Erika L. Sánchez’s debut collection, Lessons on Expulsion is one I’m absolutely, without a doubt, very, very into. This is the kind of poetry I like: dark, a little despairing, very honest, super feminist, unapologetic about its Latinidad. 10/10 the content I’m here for.Consider the closing section from “Hija de la Chingada,” a poem about sexuality, shame, mothers, and coming of age: Now you say you’re a grown womanwho can fuck her way across the world,if she wants.But when you wrap yourselfaround your man,when he yanks your hairthe way you like,you still asks him to pretend as if you hold a beautiful rapture between your legs.You still ask him to pretendas if you’re human. I was also struck by “To You on My Birthday,” about falling (in) out of love with someone at a young age, “A Woman Runs on the First Day of Spring,” with the opening line “When I am a stranger to my own / ruin, twilight reminds me / to give alms to my best sins” which for some reason got me right where it hurts, and, of course, the final poem in the collection, “Six Months After Contemplating Suicide,” with its ever-apt observation that “to cease to exist / and to die / are two different things entirely.”
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    This was a book that I really took my time to get through—six months, to be more exact. The reason for that? Very rarely, almost never, do I come upon any literature that I can relate to in such a complete sense. Written by Erika Sánchez, a daughter of Mexican immigrants born in the midwest (exactly like myself), Lessons on Expulsion is an exploration in rawness and vulnerability via poetry. I felt that I really needed to take my time with this. There are so many lines and stanzas that left me b This was a book that I really took my time to get through—six months, to be more exact. The reason for that? Very rarely, almost never, do I come upon any literature that I can relate to in such a complete sense. Written by Erika Sánchez, a daughter of Mexican immigrants born in the midwest (exactly like myself), Lessons on Expulsion is an exploration in rawness and vulnerability via poetry. I felt that I really needed to take my time with this. There are so many lines and stanzas that left me breathless with their commonality to my own experiences. Her writing is heady and intoxicating and so heavy with the her own dark history and suffering (and those of her ancestors) and yet she is unafraid to explore it and share it. “487 years agopeople here crossed the oceanand savagely fused with the inhabitants. 467 years latermy parents crossed the borderin the trunk of a Cadillac. I was born in Chicago.”
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  • David Rodolfo Areyzaga Santana
    January 1, 1970
    Poetry is meant to be read aloud, and the experience of listening to myself as I do so is what best helps me judge if think a book of poetry is worthwhile. Trust me, this is something you need to experience.Erika L. Sánchez masterfully combines English and Spanish while discussing immigration, violence, and sexuality. To read Erika's poems is to see how she bares her soul and her observations on a brutal world. However, despite the unpleasantness of the topic, her almost effortless flow makes it Poetry is meant to be read aloud, and the experience of listening to myself as I do so is what best helps me judge if think a book of poetry is worthwhile. Trust me, this is something you need to experience.Erika L. Sánchez masterfully combines English and Spanish while discussing immigration, violence, and sexuality. To read Erika's poems is to see how she bares her soul and her observations on a brutal world. However, despite the unpleasantness of the topic, her almost effortless flow makes it not only an important and eye-opening reading, but an aesthetically-pleasing reading. Every word that came out of my mouth was decidedly hers, and I hope she becomes a household name not only in American poetry, but also in Mexican poetry.Shout-out to my pal Gibrhan, for sharing this wonderful book with me!
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  • Lorraine
    January 1, 1970
    Probably more like 3.5 stars. The poems are strong, and I like them more individually than taken together as a collection. They are visceral and tough and are welcome in the context of, say, a literary magazine after you’ve read yet another tired John Ashbery and want something more real and more immediate to life. But they can lack a bit of dynamism and nuance when they’re all lined up together. That’s a small quibble, though, over a young poet with real talent who is going to only grow stronge Probably more like 3.5 stars. The poems are strong, and I like them more individually than taken together as a collection. They are visceral and tough and are welcome in the context of, say, a literary magazine after you’ve read yet another tired John Ashbery and want something more real and more immediate to life. But they can lack a bit of dynamism and nuance when they’re all lined up together. That’s a small quibble, though, over a young poet with real talent who is going to only grow stronger over time. I look forward to more collections from her.
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  • Christie
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent collection of poetry - I've been excited to read it since seeing it advertised on Graywolf's Instagram. Sánchez is real, honest, and unforgiving in her accounts of cultural identity, sexual awakening, and personal struggles. The poems crackle with language and images as authentic as the honest voice. I highly recommend this one! "Mexico, the ocean - where we began /when we were young and where we end, /almost equally young. //But that must be worth something, right? /Beauty is all abou Excellent collection of poetry - I've been excited to read it since seeing it advertised on Graywolf's Instagram. Sánchez is real, honest, and unforgiving in her accounts of cultural identity, sexual awakening, and personal struggles. The poems crackle with language and images as authentic as the honest voice. I highly recommend this one! "Mexico, the ocean - where we began /when we were young and where we end, /almost equally young. //But that must be worth something, right? /Beauty is all about symmetry, isn't it?"
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  • A E Fox
    January 1, 1970
    From the very first poem--wow! I can't find anything to complain about when it comes to this chapbook. It had me looking crazy in public because I was kicking, squealing, crying, pulling my hair out and more. This is a fine example of how a chapbook should be. Lingering. A new favorite and I look forward to rereading it and finding Erika's YA novel. This is a must-read for anyone who loves poetry, wants to study poetry, writes poetry themselves.
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  • Patti K
    January 1, 1970
    A debut book of poetry from 2017, Sanchez has exploded onto the scene.She writes with a lyrical toughness and raw energy that brings each poemright into your face. A feminist perspective on immigration, migrants, misogyny,love and sex, and the violent underworld of Mexico. She takes on a lot and doesjustice to each topic. Somewhat difficult to read because of the violence whichpartially describes her subject, but taken in smaller doses, it is a thrill of hardtruths. Recommend.
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  • Jose Ayala
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. This collection of poems punches your heart in the gut. I re-read every poem several times, unraveling something new and deeper with each reading. These poems are not ones you're going to find on Instagram posts, these poems are heart wrenchingly honest, brutal, and beautiful. I can't wait to read what Erika Sanchez comes up with next. Favorites in this collection: Hija de la ChingadaCrossingOrchidPoem of My Humiliations
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  • Maggie
    January 1, 1970
    Sanchez is a master of the tightly controlled lyric as well as the conversational narrative. Her tonal range makes this book more expansive than others that have similar roots. I'm particularly drawn to her grotesque imagery, her contemplation of landscape, of the body-in-this-world and the body misplaced. A poet to watch.
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  • Alix
    January 1, 1970
    "...anything to smother the soft and constant vertigo, to stitch a spirit so riddled with leeches."favorite poems:- spring- letter from new york- lavapiés- on the eve of the tepehuán revolt- to you on my birthday- crossing- orchid
  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    Excerpt from “The Loop”Every day, you say, I am a person, I am a person.It’s winter and your feet are wet again. You wave hello to the friendly rats.Why do you flounder so easily in holes?Do you suffer from cholera if the brain?Check yes or no.
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