Where My Umbilical is Buried
Pre-Order: Sundress Publications (March 2023)
In her debut collection, Amanda Galvan Huynh cultivates poems that sing and ache toward the matriarchal, memory, and hope. In seeking to rupture intergenerational trauma, identity, and expectation, Galvan Huynh carves a complex and deft vision beyond knowing “how many seams kept them together”, to achieve a conjuring that blesses “the hands of mothers who never had one to follow.” Through rich imagery, vibrant meditation, and a resilient self-examination, Where My Umbilical Is Buried weaves a code-switching tapestry that unabashedly confronts, complicates, and celebrates the lineages and experiences. These are intricate poems that manifest healing and dreaming for the self and future ancestors.
— Anthony Cody, author of Borderland Apocrypha
To read Amanda Galvan Huynh’s poetry is to remember the scent of my mother’s kitchen, the beat of cumbias and the trills of accordions, and the weight of family stories told in the language of pain and silence. In poems both fluid and powerful, Galvan Huynh demonstrates the hard-won struggle to become yourself—to own your language, culture, and sexuality when you’ve inherited more wounds than gifts from your mother and your mother’s mothers. Galvan Huynh writes, “Bless…The hands that may have/never planned on being/a mother and the ones/that feared being enough./Bless the hands of mothers/who never had one to follow,” and in passages like this, Where My Umbilical is Buried becomes an act of learning to mother oneself, free oneself, love oneself. !Poeta brava!
— ire’ne lara silva, author of Cuicacalli/House of Song and Blood Sugar Canto
Where My Umbilical Is Buried offers a disarmingly precise series of poems about the intergenerational struggle to establish a sense of home when home offers its own turbulence. The reality of the working class Latinx families in America looms large over these poems. It haunts them, transfixes them, but in the process these poems create a deeply personal space where this struggle is transformed. In this collection there is a longing for home that goes past the social reality, past the domestic sphere, towards the celestial womb. There is a sense of longing on a cosmic scale, a yearning that stretches towards the stars. These poems heal, they flicker, they are a way of digging into the darkness and growing from the ground up.
— Mike Soto, author of A Grave Is Given Supper
Of Color: Poets’ Ways of Making: An Anthology of Essays on Transformative Poetics
Edited by: Amanda Galvan Huynh & Luisa A. Igloria
Order: The Operating System
“There is a fierceness required or grown from having little choice but to be attentive. Like walking an uneven and dangerous path chock full of hidden or horizon-obliterating elements screaming quiet in their teeming to be witnessed. This is nothing less magic than the complex work-work of language itself, and in such crucial voicings, the ones offered right here.
Of Color: Poets’ Ways of Making :: An Anthology of Essays on Transformative Poetics is testimonial and music, memory and urgency and loss, fire and salve for what has been, for the troubled ongoing future.
The authors, the stories their bodies and flesh carry, the memories they often contend with, brought together and beautifully curated by Luisa A. Igloria and Amanda Galvan Huynh, are no easy “we.” And yet I risk this: it is in gathering uneasy, willing ourselves into readiness, to share how hard or through what experimentations in contention we got here that we may find in the stories, in the work, waystones for the journey on.
I want to quote all the essays in this unbroken promise of a book to you. Like being the first in the crew to, just this side of gushing, pop in a tape our body responses decide carries our next song for crossing bridges. Instead, I say I needed this book many years ago, and need it now. May you who finds this so often brilliant waystone of a book carry it to the places more of us can find it, too.”
— Hari Alluri, The Flayed City
Songs of Brujería
“This emotionally poignant and skillfully crafted chapbook captures the intergenerational stories of a Latinx family as they move across Texas to work the fields. At its center is a frayed mother figure, whose life teaches us about violence, survival, womanhood, migration, death, and love. As the speaker notes in the title poem: “She would teach me how to listen to the magic / found in those nights—as if all I had / to do was press my ear to my pulse—to find my way home.” Galvan Huynh learned this lesson well because every page pulses with memory and song.”
— Craig Santos Perez, from unincorporated territory [hacha]
“In Songs of Brujería, Amanda Galvan Huynh deftly explores the entanglements of identity for the mestizo latinx woman. Here you will not find poems full of elixirs and spells, nowhere the botánica love spell. The book, rather, is itself is an act of the sacred medicine from which brujería stems: taken together, these poems form an act of healing, of clarifying and unburdening the spirit from what ails it. The speech of the poems is plain, prose-like, but turned on the lathe of the line, silences and spaces are carved out — making much-needed windows that bring light into the repressed rooms of the family house. Narratives here are drawn out vertically, opening them, revealing their hidden layers. Galvan Huynh bears witness to the cycles of harm with endless compassion, acknowledging the larger forces of colonization and patriarchy that inform identity and family relationships, particularly those of mothers and daughters. The book urges us to examine our own wounds and those of others, to ask the difficult questions, to keep reaching after what is lost, to be the authors and keepers of our own history.”
— Stephanie Adams-Santos, Swarm Queen’s Crown