South Texas Experience: Love Letters

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South Texas Experience: Love Letters is a map of home and the relationship with South Texas, of death and ghosts and the river. Poems that speak to that space that exists between borders.

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Description

“South Texas Experience” is a poetry book by Noemi Martinez about the Rio Grande Valley in deep South Texas. The poems in the collection are described as “love letters” to the Valley, exploring the author’s connection to the place and the complexities of loving a place that has its own history of pain and struggle. Martinez, who is a queer Tejana/Xicana writer with Mexican and Caribbean roots, writes about the connection between affect and geo-political location, and the negotiations and tensions that come with that connection. The book is also described as an exploration of crip and queer time, and a portrayal of the sociological imagination. Martinez’s poetry is described as lyrical and drawing on personal, collective, and ecological struggles against structural violence. The book has been praised for its handling of these themes and for building the poetry from accounts of literary philosophers, current progressive media, and historical research.

Pure relentless unwavering poet. Total control. Never too much or too little.
In poetry there is truth. In poetry there is education. In poetry there is heart/god/liberation. In poetry there is freedom. Noemi writes in memoriam for those whose names have been taken. She writes as a historian during a time history is outlawed. She writes of skulls “wedged between coffins” and “white yucca in blossom/the burning grass” as well as family, known and unknown.
This is why I wanted to be a writer. Why I write. Why I read. I immediately want to send this book to ten loved ones for the new years. I want to wish a hundred blessings for us in the new year. For a world where the survival of poetry and people matter. To fund the survival of the planet by supporting a new press of promise by a radical single mother of color at the center of a world of necessary transformation.  And the evolution of the zinester, the single mami media maker into having a new press and new forms, experiments in sustainability.
Deep. Nature + Poem. Images. Noemi is a masterful creatrix. She writes poems as truths, wake up calls for us all. Words are beautiful. Language, like ripples, so perfect.
-China Martens, Hip Mama

From the Author

Dear readers,

Thank you for considering “South Texas Experience: Love Letters.” This collection of poems is deeply personal to me, as it explores my experiences growing up in the Rio Grande Valley and my struggles with identity and belonging in the Rio Grande Valley, where I was raised and currently call home.
These poems are a love letter to this place, as well as a confrontation of the challenges and limitations that come with being a bicultural Mexican and Caribbean person in this borderland.

Through the lens of personal experiences and the recovery of history, these poems delve into themes of history, immigration, family, and home. I hope that these poems will resonate with you and inspire you to consider your own sense of identity and belonging.

Thank you for taking the time to read my work.

Sincerely,
NM

Noemi Martinez is a poet and writer with a diverse background, blending Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage. They identify as queer and disabled, and are also skilled in mixed media art. As a single parent raising two children, Martinez resides in a family with multiple disabilities in the deep South Texas region. For the past two decades, they have dedicated themselves to creating, publishing, teaching, and discussing their work as a zine creator. Martinez’s unique perspective and experiences inform their poetry and writing, making them a valuable voice in the literary community.

  • Print Length: 48 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0997561203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0997561203

top topics:

  1. Identity
  2. Belonging
  3. Borderland poetry
  4. Rio Grande Valley
  5. Biculturalism
  6. Immigration
  7. Family
  8. Home
  9. History
  10. Recovery of history

top subject themes that can be applied:

  1. Identity and self-discovery
  2. Exploring cultural heritage and diversity
  3. Understanding immigration and the refugee experience
  4. The complexities of belonging and finding a sense of home
  5. Examining the manipulation and control of history
  6. Resisting societal expectations and norms related to identity
  7. Navigating and challenging the limitations of identity
  8. The role of community and family in shaping identity
  9. The power of personal storytelling and self-expression
  10. The intersectionality of multiple identities and how they shape our experiences

Has been and can be used as a resource in these classes:

could be used as a resource in a variety of classes

  1. Creative writing or poetry workshops
  2. Ethnic studies or multicultural literature courses
  3. Immigration and refugee studies courses
  4. Women’s and gender studies courses
  5. Sociology or anthropology courses focused on cultural identity and belonging
  6. History or social studies classes exploring the borderland region and its history
  7. English or literature classes focusing on themes of identity, belonging, and self-discovery
  8. Theater or drama classes interested in exploring themes of identity and cultural representation through performance
  9. Art or visual arts classes seeking to incorporate themes of identity and belonging into their work
  10. Psychology or counseling classes examining the role of identity in personal and collective experiences.

Possible essay assignments:

history

  1. In the poem “History Books in Texas,” the speaker writes “I’ve learned of the / formal procedures of manipulation / finessed to an art form:history.” How does this line reflect the way in which history can be manipulated and controlled? Using specific examples from history, discuss the ways in which the interpretation and representation of events can be shaped by those in power.
  2. In “For the Stars Walking Under Our Sky,” the speaker writes “I write of my self, my people-Mexican, / my home-South Texas, the recovery of our history.” How does this statement reflect the importance of personal and collective storytelling in shaping our understanding of history? Using specific examples, discuss the ways in which marginalized voices and perspectives can be recovered and included in historical narratives.

writing

  1. In the poem “I Could Fall in Love with You,” the speaker writes “In the white filled streets of Oklahoma, / I longed for the valley.” How does this line reflect the theme of longing and the search for home? Using specific examples from the poem, discuss how the speaker’s relationship with the Rio Grande Valley reflects their sense of identity and belonging.
  2. In “For the Stars Walking Under Our Sky,” the speaker writes “Historian as curandera; poet as curandera. But from these / borderlands and another. Gloria’s wound is half of my / tongue, the other half is buried.” How does this line reflect the theme of recovery and the complexities of identity in the borderland region? Using specific examples from the poem, discuss the ways in which the speaker’s identity is shaped by their experiences and heritage.

Identity

  1. In the poem “I Could Lose My Heart Tonight,” the speaker writes “You-magic valley, made me a witch, / a llorona, a bruja.” How does this line reflect the theme of identity and the power of place? Using specific examples from the poem, discuss the ways in which the Rio Grande Valley has shaped the speaker’s identity and how they navigate and embrace different aspects of their identity.
  2. In “For the Stars Walking Under Our Sky,” the speaker writes “I am home, yet I am not.” How does this line reflect the theme of belonging and the complexities of finding a sense of home? Using specific examples from the poem, discuss the ways in which the speaker’s relationship with the Rio Grande Valley reflects their struggle to find a sense of belonging.

race, ethnicity, cultural identity

  1. In the poem “For the Stars Walking Under Our Sky,” the speaker writes “I write of my self, my people-Mexican, / my home-South Texas, the recovery of our history.” How does this statement reflect the importance of personal and collective storytelling in shaping our understanding of race and ethnicity? Using specific examples, discuss the ways in which marginalized voices and perspectives can be recovered and included in discussions of race and ethnicity.
  2. In “I Could Lose My Heart Tonight,” the speaker writes “You changed me, I grew in you / I hated you. I needed you. I left.” How does this line reflect the theme of navigating and challenging societal expectations related to race and ethnicity? Using specific examples from the poem, discuss the ways in which the speaker grapples with their identity and the expectations placed on them based on their race and ethnicity.
  1. Drama class exam prompt: In the poem “I Could Lose My Heart Tonight,” the speaker writes “You-magic valley, made me a witch, / a llorona, a bruja.” How can this line be used to explore themes of identity and cultural representation in a dramatic performance? Using specific examples from the poem, discuss how you might incorporate elements of the speaker’s identity and experiences into a character or scene.
  2. Theatre class exam prompt: In “For the Stars Walking Under Our Sky,” the speaker writes “I write of my self, my people-Mexican, / my home-South Texas, the recovery of our history.” How does this statement reflect the importance of personal and collective storytelling in shaping our understanding of identity and belonging? Using specific examples from the poem, discuss how you might incorporate themes of identity and belonging into the design and production of a play or performance.
  3. Acting class exam prompt: In the poem “I Could Fall in Love with You,” the speaker writes “In the white filled streets of Oklahoma, / I longed for the valley.” How can this line be used to explore themes of longing and the search for home in an acting performance? Using specific examples from the poem, discuss how you might incorporate elements of the speaker’s longing and sense of identity into a character or scene.

 

Additional information

STE

book, ebook