I Have No Ocean
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?
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."
"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."