2. A book written in Central America: Unaccompanied by Javier Zamora
List Progress: 29/30
Written in 2017, Javier Zamora’s collection of poetry, Unaccompanied, is speaking directly to the political situations and conversations of today. Zamora was born in El Salvador and lived there until he was 9 years old, before crossing the Mexico-US border as an undocumented immigrant and unaccompanied minor in order to meet his parents who had crossed previously. These sorts of stories and situations have been plastered over the news and screamed about by pundits for years, but Zamora’s work paints the very human emotions of those fraught journeys.
The imagery Zamora uses, especially when talking about his longing for his home country, is rich and evocative, with lots of small details to give you the sense of what is pulling at him. Not much of the wordsmithing itself is that special, but the snippets of stories and images and the overall mood of the collection are great and moving. It is a beautiful collection, and a lot of the individual poems were striking, but it falls into the category of something I like, but don’t love. I think it is largely just a case of not being my type of poetry, though I could see these being very striking to hear performed live.
I don’t read a ton of poetry, but I am definitely glad I took the time to take this journey. The loving and lush way that Zamora writes about El Salvador, even in the face of extreme violence and dissent, is not something I’ve ever seen about a Central American country, and is something that absolutely should be a bigger part of the national conversations about immigration.
Would I Recommend It: Yes.