Virgin
Selected by Ross Gay as winner of the inaugural Jake Adam York Prize, Analicia Sotelo's debut collection of poems is a vivid portrait of the artist as a young woman.In Virgin, Sotelo walks the line between autobiography and mythmaking, offering up identities like dishes at a feast. These poems devour and complicate tropes of femininity--of naivete, of careless abandon--before sharply exploring the intelligence and fortitude of women, how "far & wide, / how dark & deep / this frigid female mind can go." At every step, Sotelo's poems seduce with history, folklore, and sensory detail--grilled meat, golden habaneros, and burnt sugar--before delivering clear-eyed and eviscerating insights into power, deceit, relationships, and ourselves.Blistering and gorgeous, Virgin is an audacious act of imaginative self-mythology from one of our most promising young poets.

Virgin Details

TitleVirgin
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 13th, 2018
PublisherMilkweed Editions
ISBN-139781571315007
Rating
GenrePoetry, Feminism

Virgin Review

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 1, 1970
    I was hooked from the first poem, "Do You Speak Virgin?" from this impressive debut collection by Analicia Sotelo. My favorites included: "Ariadne's Guide to Getting a Man" "My Mother & the Parable of the Lemons" "My English Victorian Dating Troubles."What I like about them - the way they feel youthful, but not naive. The way the poet's voice knows her inexperience but moves through the world deliberately masking her understanding of it so other women feel safe, and she herself is safer (but I was hooked from the first poem, "Do You Speak Virgin?" from this impressive debut collection by Analicia Sotelo. My favorites included: "Ariadne's Guide to Getting a Man" "My Mother & the Parable of the Lemons" "My English Victorian Dating Troubles."What I like about them - the way they feel youthful, but not naive. The way the poet's voice knows her inexperience but moves through the world deliberately masking her understanding of it so other women feel safe, and she herself is safer (but not from love.) The way there are slight elements of Mexican culture, the way someone who grows up in another country still has some cultural references from their background. The division of poems into sections like "Myths" and "Parables." The characters that have already started to recur in her memory, her dreams, and now her poems. Great stuff. I had an eARC from Milkweed through Edelweiss... Virgin comes out February 20!
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  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    January 1, 1970
    This was a great collection of poems reflecting on how a young woman comes to find her place in the world and love herself. Many of the poems use the Ariadne myth as a basis, but others relate to art and her Mexican American culture.
  • Alana
    January 1, 1970
    To admit I love you would be to admitI love ideas more than men,myself even less than ideas.
  • Maddie C.
    January 1, 1970
    "How’s my birthday lamb? Oh, brutal. Delicious."
  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    "I dream the scentof my mother's lipstickhas come back to haunt me---like an oil pastelmarkingmy dreary, dramatic heart."I loved this collection. The poems gained momentum as I read, and I read the very last one, The Ariadne Year, four times in a row. I love how she blends heartache and humor and beauty, and I love how I feel like I got some sense of who she is, like she opened a window into her mind, her soul. I don't always feel that with poetry, but I did here.
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  • Naomi
    January 1, 1970
    This is a book with serious poems that interweave remnants from classic Western mythology, Catholic imagery, and Mexican American experiences. But the whole collection was worth reading to be surprised/tickled by these lines: "See, there is a white manin every single one of us.Yes, everyone is wearing casual yacht wear now& mispronouncing their specialty condimentsO gentlemenI am the angel/whore of kale chips" Anyway, my favorites are "I'm Trying to Write a Poem about a Virgin and It's Awful This is a book with serious poems that interweave remnants from classic Western mythology, Catholic imagery, and Mexican American experiences. But the whole collection was worth reading to be surprised/tickled by these lines: "See, there is a white manin every single one of us.Yes, everyone is wearing casual yacht wear now& mispronouncing their specialty condimentsO gentlemenI am the angel/whore of kale chips" Anyway, my favorites are "I'm Trying to Write a Poem about a Virgin and It's Awful," "Trauma with a Second Chance at Humiliation," "My English Victorian Dating Troubles," and "The Adriadne Year."
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  • Matt Ely
    January 1, 1970
    I appreciated the multiplicity of styles, sometimes letting words languish and drag, other times pushing one after another. Her titles work incredibly well as a supplement to the poem itself, with examples like "I'm trying to write a poem about a virgin and it's awful," setting the tone that helpfully contrasts with a series inspired by Greek myth. I read this volume quickly for school, but it deserves more time than I gave it, and there are large sections I would like to return to at a slower p I appreciated the multiplicity of styles, sometimes letting words languish and drag, other times pushing one after another. Her titles work incredibly well as a supplement to the poem itself, with examples like "I'm trying to write a poem about a virgin and it's awful," setting the tone that helpfully contrasts with a series inspired by Greek myth. I read this volume quickly for school, but it deserves more time than I gave it, and there are large sections I would like to return to at a slower pace.
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  • Kayla Zacharias
    January 1, 1970
    I don't read a lot of poetry, but I thought this was okay. There's some good stuff about male toxicity here.
  • Sarah Koppelkam
    January 1, 1970
    Not a lot of this stuck with me, so I guess it's not a top pick for me. That said, Sotelo is a fierce female voice. I like thinking about this alongside "The Poet X" by Elizabeth Acevedo.
  • Aloysiusi Lionel
    January 1, 1970
    This book (actually, an e-book sent by the generous Mark Anthony Cayanan) reminds me of the films Ladybird and The Little Hours, both of which were released in 2017, explored how a woman's knowledge and intimacy with her own sexuality can render her vulnerable once and powerful ever, and instructed men on how to look at a woman: not with elation for the giftedness of the body, but with fascination for the outspokenness of the mind. "Now I have three heads: one / for speech, one for sex, / and on This book (actually, an e-book sent by the generous Mark Anthony Cayanan) reminds me of the films Ladybird and The Little Hours, both of which were released in 2017, explored how a woman's knowledge and intimacy with her own sexuality can render her vulnerable once and powerful ever, and instructed men on how to look at a woman: not with elation for the giftedness of the body, but with fascination for the outspokenness of the mind. "Now I have three heads: one / for speech, one for sex, / and one for second-guessing." Analicia Sotelo presents in Virgin (Milkweed Editions, 2018) an autobiographical persona who traced her roots then braved her way through the society's double standards with her boldness and courage. But the lyricism she offered bordered on quietude and composure, all the poems that are desired to articulate the overarching theme are but gentle piercings on the soul. "We're all performing our bruises". And this performance is like telling us, there's nothing wrong with stories of abandonment, there's nothing wrong with counts of loneliness and separation, there's nothing wrong with wild fantasies, as long as these are expressed beautifully, without the intention of forceful imposition. With the prudence of myths, of parables and of motifs of the speculative, this postcolonial attempt to represent the aspirations of young Mexican-American girls gracefully achieved its organic unity. May publications like this reach our archipelago, where people busy themselves with survival, where people "think" that "thinking", the occasional contemplations on art, is not affordable.
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  • Lexi Nylander
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this. I love the feel and the intensity. My favorite sections was Myth with Parable being a close second. My favorite poems were Theseus at the Naxos Apartment Complex, 6 am, Death Wish, Ariadne Discusses Theseus in Relation to the Minotaur, and Father Fragments (or, Yellow Ochre)."When a man tells you he is a monster, believe him. When a man says you will get hurt, leave. Get into a boat, out onto a sea that everyone owns.""and everyone knows the best kinds of shadows look like the wors I loved this. I love the feel and the intensity. My favorite sections was Myth with Parable being a close second. My favorite poems were Theseus at the Naxos Apartment Complex, 6 am, Death Wish, Ariadne Discusses Theseus in Relation to the Minotaur, and Father Fragments (or, Yellow Ochre)."When a man tells you he is a monster, believe him. When a man says you will get hurt, leave. Get into a boat, out onto a sea that everyone owns.""and everyone knows the best kinds of shadows look like the worst kinds of men.""See the instinct for painting is the instinct for power""& the skull I carried in my hand in case anyone took record? Still on my fingers.""I'm only good at killing what I know, then taking off. So take it off if you want to. They can't say I didn't warn you. I wasn't made for morals. I was born to do things right.""This day is proof that that there is a sundial for every single decision in history, and a garden is a garden once you name it""And remember: a mother will always love you, but a man can draw you in.""If you do marry, marry well or marry never.""I'm morbid and loving. You made me.""Mother, your likeness is not easy or accidental."
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  • Matt
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book of poems. Sotelo has a good handle on that poetic voice that is at once conversational and at the same time takes wild, exaggerated lyric turns that include striking imagery that is outside of the usual conversational range, or at least mine is. Given the title, it's probably not too big a shock that this book is interested in interrogating questions of female identity and desire, and it does this through five or six short cycles of poems. The figures of Theseus, Ariad I really enjoyed this book of poems. Sotelo has a good handle on that poetic voice that is at once conversational and at the same time takes wild, exaggerated lyric turns that include striking imagery that is outside of the usual conversational range, or at least mine is. Given the title, it's probably not too big a shock that this book is interested in interrogating questions of female identity and desire, and it does this through five or six short cycles of poems. The figures of Theseus, Ariadne, and the Minotau recur, as does the mother and father, who seem to have a more strictly bioraphical resonance alongside the more mythic characters mentioned.It was good, though maybe a little cloying at times-- the footsie playing of the first sections, where we are asked to read this against the persona's claims to virginity, might be a little grating on rereading. And the last section, for some reason, just fell flat to me. But these are bracing lyrics and I was mostly captivated and impressed throughout.
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  • emma
    January 1, 1970
    At its core, Virgin is a book of the myths surrounding the heart: the myth of who a bittersweet single girl has been she has been: “People think I’m sweet… look now: my heart // is a fist of barbed wire” (8, 18), myth of those she'd once desired, myth of unreachable fathers, urban legends behind the likes of Frieda Kahlo, and traditional myths, rooted in Ariadne and Theseus. Sotelo explores the feminine, specifically the bittersweet single girl in all her conflicted, tired-of-your-bullshit, lovi At its core, Virgin is a book of the myths surrounding the heart: the myth of who a bittersweet single girl has been she has been: “People think I’m sweet… look now: my heart // is a fist of barbed wire” (8, 18), myth of those she'd once desired, myth of unreachable fathers, urban legends behind the likes of Frieda Kahlo, and traditional myths, rooted in Ariadne and Theseus. Sotelo explores the feminine, specifically the bittersweet single girl in all her conflicted, tired-of-your-bullshit, loving, hungry, reliable complexity. Her diction is effortlessly intentional and thoughtful; she does not write with blame or bitterness.I wrote a close reading here on JCL's We Recommend blog, back in July.
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  • Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
    January 1, 1970
    This poetry collection by local Houston poet, Analicia Sotelo, was described as being centered around Latina sexuality. It read as a coming of age and reflective collection, with situational rather than abstract imagery (the ability to include themes of femininity within a poem about Texas BBQ was particularly impressive!). I really enjoyed it and felt it engaged and connected with the reader really quickly with the use of first person voice. This was a really refreshing read and I felt like it This poetry collection by local Houston poet, Analicia Sotelo, was described as being centered around Latina sexuality. It read as a coming of age and reflective collection, with situational rather than abstract imagery (the ability to include themes of femininity within a poem about Texas BBQ was particularly impressive!). I really enjoyed it and felt it engaged and connected with the reader really quickly with the use of first person voice. This was a really refreshing read and I felt like it shared some musings on identity within Texas specifically.If anyone else has read this one I’d love to discuss!Some of my favorites from the collection included:🍃Trauma With Damp Stairwell🍃Ariadne’s Guide to Getting a Man🍃Theseus at the Naxos Apartment Complex, 6am🍃My Mother as the Voice of Kahlo🍃My English Victorian Dating Troubles
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  • Eli
    January 1, 1970
    This collection's title announces a balancing act: Sotelo is trying to navigate both the stark world of sexual politics and the richly allusive potential of Catholic mythology. Unfortunately, though there are poems in this volume where these things come together in a perfect collusion of image and intellect (my favorite, "Summer Barbecue with Two Men," is frankly gorgeous), most of the poems in this collection fall too far on one side of that line for my taste, ending up either sounding like a s This collection's title announces a balancing act: Sotelo is trying to navigate both the stark world of sexual politics and the richly allusive potential of Catholic mythology. Unfortunately, though there are poems in this volume where these things come together in a perfect collusion of image and intellect (my favorite, "Summer Barbecue with Two Men," is frankly gorgeous), most of the poems in this collection fall too far on one side of that line for my taste, ending up either sounding like a salvo of epigrams or a jumble of images.
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  • Margaryta
    January 1, 1970
    "Virgin" feels intimate on many layers, simultaneously biting and soothing. Sotelo gives the reader wisdom without making it sound that way and without being imposing in the process. Each consecutive poem draws you in deeper, and I began to question where the boundaries between myself, Sotelo, and womanhood were. Bare, honest, and clever, "Virgin" does away with cliches and exaggerations. These are genuine, pulsing poems, ones you can feel in your heart and mouth simultaneously, ones that make y "Virgin" feels intimate on many layers, simultaneously biting and soothing. Sotelo gives the reader wisdom without making it sound that way and without being imposing in the process. Each consecutive poem draws you in deeper, and I began to question where the boundaries between myself, Sotelo, and womanhood were. Bare, honest, and clever, "Virgin" does away with cliches and exaggerations. These are genuine, pulsing poems, ones you can feel in your heart and mouth simultaneously, ones that make you want to go out into the world and break the silence.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Eh, didn't really connect with this one. Lots of subpar Plath karaoke, randomly dispersed line breaks in occasionally interesting-sounding but ultimately meaning-free and slippery prose, a surfeit of boring and facile autobiography, an overarching lack of rigor. Perhaps unfairly, as I read I think I began to hold Virgin up as the avatar for everything that annoys me about contemporary poetry. I did think that the quality picked up considerably in the latter sections that dealt more with mytholog Eh, didn't really connect with this one. Lots of subpar Plath karaoke, randomly dispersed line breaks in occasionally interesting-sounding but ultimately meaning-free and slippery prose, a surfeit of boring and facile autobiography, an overarching lack of rigor. Perhaps unfairly, as I read I think I began to hold Virgin up as the avatar for everything that annoys me about contemporary poetry. I did think that the quality picked up considerably in the latter sections that dealt more with mythological archetypes rather than becardiganed grad students at shitty potlucks.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Some favorite quotes: But he's right outside. Not right for me, but right outside. Now I have three heads: one for speech, one for sex, and one for second guessing. If you do marry, marry well Or marry never. And remember: A mother will always love you,But a man can draw you in. Grow up even more, to the point where nothing fits. Let us not get coffee. Let us not sit so close to each other That we can't tell which thoughts are truly private. I am tired Of undressing to no comment,Years and years Some favorite quotes: But he's right outside. Not right for me, but right outside. Now I have three heads: one for speech, one for sex, and one for second guessing. If you do marry, marry well Or marry never. And remember: A mother will always love you,But a man can draw you in. Grow up even more, to the point where nothing fits. Let us not get coffee. Let us not sit so close to each other That we can't tell which thoughts are truly private. I am tired Of undressing to no comment,Years and years of youth Wasted to the particles in the air.
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  • Gwendolyn
    January 1, 1970
    Analicia Sotelo is the first winner of the new Jake Adam York Prize for this debut poetry collection, and she is a deserving winner. I particularly love how these poems take contemporary situations and weave them together with mythological figures, famous artists, and other more timeless elements. These poems are accessible without being dumbed down. Here’s a heartbreaking fragment from the poem “South Texas Persephone”:In the bar, we'll dance to a song I hate,but I'll cling to him anyway.This i Analicia Sotelo is the first winner of the new Jake Adam York Prize for this debut poetry collection, and she is a deserving winner. I particularly love how these poems take contemporary situations and weave them together with mythological figures, famous artists, and other more timeless elements. These poems are accessible without being dumbed down. Here’s a heartbreaking fragment from the poem “South Texas Persephone”:In the bar, we'll dance to a song I hate,but I'll cling to him anyway.This is the darkness of marriage,the burial of my preferencesbefore they can even be born.
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  • Lynsy • Little Book Jockey
    January 1, 1970
    Full review at Little Book Jockey. It’s always hard for me to review or rate poetry. It’s easy if I either love it or hate it, but for me this collection falls somewhere in the middle, although I did love a few lines. I think I couldn’t relate to many of the poems, which isn’t a fault of Sotelo’s or mine–it just happens sometimes in poetry and literature. And that’s okay.
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  • Kaitlyn
    January 1, 1970
    Sotelo’s writing was undoubtedly good. She is a great poet who utilizes form and imagery to create great stories. However, the emotional impact was lacking in most of her poems for me. The endings of the poems always left me unsatisfied.
  • Sophia Emille
    January 1, 1970
    Analicia writes so effortlessly with such eloquence and honesty, immediately pulling you in with the opening poem and keeping you close all the way to the very last page of the book. A beautifully unique examination of one's life and womanhood.
  • Jenny McDougal
    January 1, 1970
    part historian part myth-maker, sotelo leans hard into all kinds of heartbreak: familial, platonic, mythic, and passionate. what makes this collection soar is her wit and precision, 'virgin' is pure pleasure, a sweet kind of bruising.
  • Anneke Alnatour
    January 1, 1970
    Yeah. No. I could not get into this. Maybe my world and experiences are not in sync with what the author was trying to convey, but it just did not resonate with me. I tried very hard, it just wasn't there. But at the same time I could see how this could work for someone else.
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  • Sen
    January 1, 1970
    Gorgeous, visceral, raw.
  • Patrick Frownfelter
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent work. Definitely on track to be one of the poetry giants of our generation.
  • Erica Wright
    January 1, 1970
    Ferociously tender. One of the best poetry collections I've read this year.
  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    Read this exceptional collection. I couldn't put it down. A beautiful and gritty portrayal of life and love as a Latinx 20/30-something from San Antonio.
  • Mike
    January 1, 1970
    Revelatory modern verse, threaded through with mythological allusions. Great poet!
  • Kandace
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful and achingly real collection of poems on life and love, on pleasure and pain, on longing and fulfillment.
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