In her new collection, Cindy Williams Gutiérrez explores the global oppression of women—and testifies to their resilience—in over 20 countries around the world. Based on real-life incidents ranging from Brazilian “honor killings” and Indian sati to Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries and “Mississippi appendectomies” to rape as a weapon during the Rwandan genocide, these poems bear witness to the sociocultural forces that have waged war on women’s bodies, freedom, and humanity. Inlay with Nacre is herstory—the plight of Woman as bride, wife, mother, and daughter—and a call to action to restore the Feminine in the world.
Praise for Inlay with Nacre:
"With muscular and inventive stanzas—characterized by an insistent music and strikingly unpredictable narratives—Gutiérrez has effectively scotched the mythos of the conveniently silenced woman. In doing so, she's graced us with a euphony of irrepressible voices, all too long overlooked and all central to the power in this formidable collection."
—PATRICIA SMITH, author of Incendiary Art
Art: © Cristina Acosta
Art: © José Luís Rodríguez Guerra
Latina poet Cindy Williams Gutiérrez describes a mosaic of worlds—Tenochtitlan, New Spain, and the Mexican diaspora—in an exploration of her multicultural identity. Spanning 600 years, these poems call out from two pivotal eras in Mexico's past through imagined fifteenth-century Nahua "songs" and irreverent sonnets and décimas inspired by seventeenth-century poet-nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. The poet responds, paying tribute to all she holds dear in the border's diverse cultural tapestry. A literary bridge across six centuries of history, this collection extends the literary dialogue of the Americas.
Praise for the small claim of bones:
"Cindy Williams Gutiérrez invokes prayer and healing, history and memory, plume shadow and word light—those marigold songs that connect us to the power of the ancient wisdom and to the poetry of our saving grace. Ehua!"
—RIGOBERTO GONZÁLEZ, author of Unpeopled Eden
"Cindy Williams Gutiérrez has tapped into a deep motherlode of spirit, story, and image in this fine book. Puro floricanto. Read it."
—LUÍS URREA, author of The House of Broken Angels
"With this debut collection, Cindy Williams Gutiérrez earns a place in the company of Ana Castillo, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Sandra Cisneros, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Carmen Tafolla, Pat Mora, and many other feminist Latina and Xicanista forebears."
—STEPHANIE WOOD, University of Oregon
More Praise for Inlay with Nacre
"Summoning the stories silenced by time and history, Gutiérrez’s work sings with clarity and urgency. Calling out from the voices and bodies of women subjected to the forces of industry, power, and cultural hegemony, the poems move with precision and an unflinching gaze. The poet, Muriel Rukeyser, once asked 'what would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.' Here are many worlds, split open and speaking."
—BRYNN SAITO, author of Power Made Us Swoon
"Cindy Williams Gutiérrez writes to remember what the machinery of domination would have us forget. In this collection, she reveals the women that a culture overly defined by men would rather cloak. The poems of Inlay with Nacre are beautifully made with a poignance that is both searing and tender. I read poems so that I might wake from the daily stupor. This poetry widens the aperture through which we see the world—a book relevant to our times, certainly, but deeply connected to all times."
—TIM SEIBLES, author of
One Turn Around The Sun
"Chanting, ranting, observing, invoking, and exhorting, this moving collection speaks out about the suffering and the power of women from a myriad of angles, gleaming with nacre iridescence. Gutiérrez dedicates Inlay with Nacre to the memory of her mother, in a voice raging with justice and love about female circumcision, prostitution, rape, female kidnapping, suttee, and arranged marriage—and we feel the courage and power of generations behind her rage. Brava for this mighty, imaginative, and compassion book!"
—ANNIE FINCH, author of Spells