Winner of the 2010 Gatewood Prize, selected by Cathy Park Hong
In this bold and energetic debut, temporal malapropisms become purposeful play through Tamayo's poetics of code switching and homophonics. As Tamayo tackles the frustrations of the transnational immigrant experience, language "mistakes" become "missed aches" and she writes mother and mother-tongue into one as "mouth her." A red thread intrudes throughout this frenetic mixed-genre assemblage, suturing identity to the page by erasing text, embroidering images, and stitching collage together. Cathy Park Hong, 2010 Gatewood Prize judge, promises the "brash, political, and bracingly original" [Red Missed Aches] will "startle you awake and demand your attention."
"Jennifer Tamayo's writing is cacophonous, rude, and stripped. She uses equal measures of English, Spanish, and Spanglish; she landmines her poetry with malapropisms so the music is startling and pleasingly discordant. [Red Missed Aches] feels defiantly unfinished, adhering to a DIY feminist punk aesthetic so that it is more rough assemblage than bound book, a palimpsest that provocatively revises female sexuality and citizenship. Tamayo's debut collection is a daring and astonishing work that refuses borders." —Cathy Park Hong
" '[M]y immigrant ecstasies are / knots nestled behind / the sutures' reports Jennifer Tamayo in [Red Missed Aches]. Here, language is a series of scar filaments, a record of cutting and suturing hybrid identities. These poems radically expose the false boundedness of the body and cultural identity, which snag and fail and bleed and refuse to cohere into recognizable systems of meaning. Tamayo performs the self as limit experience, 'a figuring & fingering' of bilingualism that offers up the immigrant body as a defiantly unstable vehicle for meaning. These are borders that require our impropriety. In this exuberant debut, identity is perpetually migrating, and meaning is in transit." —Lara Glenum
"All bets on (or fantasies about) 'uncontested readability' are off. Challenging us to join her in an exploration of the underside of our meaning-making, where what we know as poetry or narrative reveals ragged, knotted threads, and the violence of communication and community-making becomes apparent, Jennifer Tamayo's work holds out to us the hope of new and truer connections between diverse populations. The remarkable originality, daring, and sheer excitement in her poetry comes from the recognition that identity is a restless, contested, complicated site, and that read-ability is based not on the stability of author or reference, but the response-ability of writer and reader alike." —Laura Mullen
Jennifer Tamayo is the author of the collection of poems and art work, Red Missed Aches Read Missed Aches Red Mistakes Read Mistakes (Switchback, 2011) and Poems Are the Only Real Bodies (Bloof Books, 2013). Her second full collection of poems and artwork, You Da One, was selected as the Elizabeth P. Braddock Prize winner for Coconut Books. Since 2010, JT has served as the Managing Editor for Futurepoem, an independent NYC press publishing contemporary poetry and prose. She lives and works in New York City.
top of page