Natalia Treviï¿½o's VirginX is a gorgeous treatise on the Divine Feminine, called by any of her names: Cihuapilli, Coatlicue, the Virgin Mary, Tonantzin, Virgen de Guadalupe, and the Virgen de San Juan de los Lagos. Seamlessly combining the domestic, political, cultural, historical, and familial spheres, VirgenX speaks to the lived truth of faith for those who live on the border, for those in whom the border lives. These poems are a testament to the hard-won faith of "knife-bone survival," of grief and enduring, love and pain. The lines between witness, supplicant, and co-creator blur, birthing exquisite lines like this one: "I am still learning the difference/between the prayer and the one who prays."
i'rene lara silva, author of Blood Sugar Canto
In the Virgin X we find a kind of cross stitching, a garment worthy of La Mer. This poetic labor, which we only see because of its wide references and obvious study, offers us a voice both ancient and contemporary. It is the voice of Aztec and of San Antonio; of the Madonna and the goddess with a necklace of hands; it is the cross-bordering that brings to the reader an admixture of English and Spanish, of a meticulous embroidering and yet a sparseness of space and word. I think this book is gorgeous. Necessary. Read it.
Veronica Golos, author of ROOTWORK.
The poems that make up Natalia Trevino's chapbook, Virgin X, are a study in weights and measures, scales not just for the bones of fish but a splendid music as well. The imagery and language the poet frequently utilizes make a "gold weave of stems curled like scorpions' tails." Poetry so we readers have the pleasure of standing with the poet and experiencing her vivid narration, "votives flickering, their wicks tiny skirts swaying under my tears." The poems gently explore subjects of faith and longing, and finding comfort after a great loss, all the while showing us the tiny details that make us alive, "filled with hand-written prayers and petitions." I was especially moved by the final poem in this beautiful book, "Witness." Just twenty-one lines, and they packed such a rush of emotion, such a punch: "how else to imagine/divinity than with the faces we love? It's what we do/ Bear the ephemeral. Worship what is left." I'm so excited for her readers, to hold such a beauty in their hands, to read these wonderful poems.
Devi S. Laskar, Author of Gas & Food, No Lodging & Anastasia Maps (Finishing Line Press,
2017) and debut novel from Counterpoint Press, Winter 2019
Virgin X by Natalia Trevino is a swooping swirling aria of a book, exploring with tenacity, humor, sorrow, and grit the many faces of La Virgen-mother of the world, migrant miracle worker, border-crosser, comforter, redeemer. In her indelible and gorgeously imagistic evocations of La Virgen in her many guises, Trevino gifts us ourselves, a sense of how women's lives represent "the melt of soft tissue/on knife-bone survival." These poems teach us to "cross the border/where the grim/stalks of our lives/look nothing/like the blue promise of heaven," and come out the other side, where "dress is ocean/ las alas de la agua/a sparkling horizon of sea/a reflection of the constellations/those that multiplied/in your mother's chest/as she fed you her own beams/of human light." This is an unforgettable collection that illuminates and irradiates landscapes we think we know in ways that can't help but change us.