Read a F*cking Book Review: “She Speaks Poetry” Is a Book for the Revolution

Spoken word poet, writer, and activist Erica Granados De La Rosa’s debut book, She Speaks Poetryis full of tiny revolutions called words. It came into my hands because a successful IndieGoGo fundraiser let Erica publish it with the intention of healing, sharing authentic stories about communities that, in this country, are controlled by media myths, and giving a voice to people like her – and, in the process, giving a voice to a tiny piece of all of us.

How can we thank her?

A collection sorted into eight parts that cover issues like coming out as queer in an immigrant family, the author’s indigenous roots, ongoing racial and gender conflicts in America, spirituality and faith, giving and deserving and embracing the power of love, and survival. From the diaspora to the whitewashed feminist movement to the legacies people of color carry on their skin and in their hearts, it’s all in here, in meaningful lines of poetry rich in imagery and descended from legendary stories.

As queer people, as queer people of color, as women, as queer women of color, Erica’s story is resounding. These are all of our stories. This is a book for anyone who has been told they were broken, or not worthy, or that their destinies had been decided by our ancestors or our culture’s myths about who they were. This is a book for anyone who has ever wished, from the bottom of their hearts, that things could be different or that our demons would finally leave us. This is a book is for anyone who has ever looked at their mother and seen a paragon of strength. This book is for anyone who has recognized that their love is an act of protest. This is for anyone who was told they weren’t beautiful, or that their histories meant nothing, and pushed on anyway.

So in the midst of it all
all you really need to know is
I was raised on hope

that the living
would come alive

That we could do more
than just survive
so that I could stand here
and look in your eyes
to remind you
in case you may
have forgotten

tu eres mi otro yo

You are my other me

So you better find
your place in this struggle
because it’s about that time
for our people

to live

free

– #YaMeCanse

Erica’s work in spoken word shines through in the tone and the cadence of the poems, which are full of declarations and cover challenging topics with strength, perseverance, and an unending sense of hope and ferocious willingness to fight. Inside this book are all the things that try to kill us every day because we are queer, because we are brown, because we are “foreign,” because we are poor, because we are different. But when Erica contends with these things, you feel almost assured they’re going to ultimately cave to her immense power. When we confront these things with her, we realize that none of these battles have been won, nor have they been lost. When we read them through her eyes, we realize we still have a lot of fighting and loving to do, and stat.

Amidst the realness, of which there is an abundance, there are, of course, the lighter things: falling in love, finding ourselves, sincere hopes and wishes for more, a deep love and appreciation for our histories. These are revolutions, too. Survival isn’t the only revolution; so is finding joy. Against the odds, Erica finds pockets of joy. In the midst of turmoil, she finds beauty.

These poems are middle fingers to the law, to the man, to history, to the future, to the people who continue to fight us for our lives. This is a book for survivors, warriors, and everyone in between. I read it quickly, but not without pause. I read it on trains but didn’t lose my focus.

Thank you to Erica and all the people who made this book possible. It’s a contribution to the world that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Remember. We will find home
again. It will exist in the depths
of compassion again
in the euphoria of love
we will built it with courage
again and again. We will rest
in the roots of our intentions
If we dare survive this war
We must remember to choose
love again and again
Remember

– If I Go Missing

Carmen is the Digital Editor at Ms. , Managing Editor at Argot, a Contributor at Everyday Feminism, and Co-Host of The Bossy Show. She previously served as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor, and Social Media Co-Director at Autostraddle. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 924 articles for us.

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