Guzmán’s Catrachos is a stunning debut collection of poetry that immerses the reader in rich, vibrant language. Described as being “part immigration narrative, part elegy, and part queer coming-of-age story,” this powerful collection blends pop culture, humor, with Guzmán’s cultural experience to explore life, death, and borders both real and imaginary.
“This isn’t supposed to be a history book, and yet it is,” says Guzmán in discussing Catrachos, explaining that the book is not supposed to be anthropology, sociology, or a testimonial either, and yet it is. “Those are the contradictions, especially when you’re a marginalized writer, your words are always operating on so many different frequencies at once.”
Here’s a sample of Guzmán’s writing from the book:
“It is not a fallacy that the pulpería owner who wakes up
dressed in a tunic of warriors’ pelos, or the milkman
pressing his rough hands against the cow’s tectonic body,
remembers the skirted boy with an ovarian lipstick for a tongue,
the boy who offered a tenth of his knees to the teeth
of a country with dentures.”
— from “Finding Logic in a Crushed Head”
You can listen to the interview here or on the podcast app of your choice.