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Cover of I Have No Ocean by Nicole Arocho Hernández
February 2021
Sundress Publications

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I Have No Ocean

Nicole Arocho Hernández

Nicole Arocho Hernández's "I Have No Ocean" conveys a vivid Puerto Rico set against the backdrop of Hurricane María and the resulting devastation and displacement. How do we make sense of the senseless when home lives in a land that "swallows birth's/ breath"? And how do we reckon with violence, with death caused by both colonial and natural destruction?


Nicole Arocho Hernández is a student in the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in creative writing program at ASU.

Praise for this book

"In 'I Have No Ocean,' (Hernández) has made a brutal song for that meta diaspora we tended to after an unending string of mediated catastrophes in the archipelago. Her poems deploy and challenge the lore and the detritus of empire, esa jerga colonial that barters for our lines, without mercy, and will not save us. The texture of her work, her hymnal, becomes the hymn itself: she sings because 'everyone expects a song' but also saves for us a tender yet relentless song."

Ricardo Alberto Maldonado
Author of "The Life Assignment" and co-editor of "Puerto Rico en Mi Corazón"

"With a devastating formal dexterity in and between languages and poetic structures, (Hernández) interrogates the intersectional villainy of religious oppression, patriarchy and colonialism, daringly returning to language as a liberatory and galvanizing force. These are calls for spirits to rise, both ancestral and walking among us; these are poems of dance through darkness, resist, clang, yell, and make way."

Raina J. León, PhD
Author of "Profeta without Refuge" and "Âreyto to Atabey: Essays on the Mother(ing) Self"