Laurie Ann Guerrero

"Laurie Ann Guerrero is a poet whose poems are interested in language as a method of recording creation and destruction ...poems (that) risk showing beauty where beauty has been overlooked. They uncover terror where we were afraid to look for it.... (Hers is) a body of many houses, languages, allegiances, histories, and it is this strikingly rendered complexity that makes it harder for us to dismiss one another, which is to say imagination and empathy are so often at the core of her poems, but butcher knives, too, are at the cores of her poems."
-Aracelis Girmay, author of Teeth and Kingdom Animalia

Mayor Julian Castro and the City of San Antonio's
Department for Culture and Creative Development

Request the pleasure of your company
at the Investiture Ceremony for the 2014-2016

San Antonio Poet Laureate
Laurie Ann Guerrero

and the reception celebrating her appointment.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
6:30 p.m.-8:30p.m.

    San Antonio City Council Chambers
114 West Commerce Street

Free and open to the public


Newly appointed Poet Laureate of San Antonio, Laurie Ann Guerrero pictured here (left to right) with Mayor Pro Tem, Councilman Cris Medina, Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran, Inaugural Poet Laureate of San Antonio, Carmen Tafolla, and Councilman Diego Bernal.


A TONGUE in the MOUTH of the DYING

y Laurie Ann Guerrero

Winner of the 2012 Andrés Montoya
Poetry Prize

Selected by
Francisco X. Alarcón

Filled with the nuanced beauty and complexity of the everyday—a pot of beans, a goat carcass, embroidered linens, a grandfather’s cancer—A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying journeys through the inherited fear of creation and destruction. Guerrero’s tongue becomes a palpable border, occupying those liminal spaces that both unite and divide, inviting readers to straddle and explore that what is known and unknown: the body. Guerrero explores not just the right, but the ability to speak and fight for oneself, one’s children, one’s community—in poems that testify how, too often, we fail to see the power reflected in the mirror.

Available February 2013

University of Notre Dame Press ·
(800) 621-2736

ISBN 978-0-268-01047-8

“This is the poetry of both saints and sinners (and even murderers). The poet conjures up Pablo Neruda, Gloria Anzaldúa, Sylvia Plath, and is rooted in the best Latin American, Chicano/a, and contemporary American poetics, able to render an effective poetic version of Nepantla, the land where different traditions meet, according to Anzaldúa. These poems make the reader laugh, cry, cringe, lose one’s breath, and almost one’s mind, at times.... These poems restore my faith in the power of  poetry.”                                                                                                      — Francisco X. Alarcón, judge

“Guerrero writes in a language of the body, visceral, almost unbearably vivid, the language of a poet who knows how to work with her hands. In an age when so many poems say nothing, these poems miss nothing ...attention must be paid to such a poet now and for years to come.”                                                                — Martín Espada, author of The Trouble Ball

“Guerrero has always written pointedly with a sharp pen and a sharp knife always at the ready. In her first full-length collection, these dazzling, edgy, irascible poems lean into their sweet natural bristling air, stitching and stretching image to image. This is the singing blue glory of language at its best.”                   
                                                                                                                                        — Nikky Finney, author of Head Off & Split, 
                                                                                                                                                    winner of The National Book Award

“In poems crafted with tremendous skill, Laurie Ann Guerrero’s A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying explores, so often, the ways in which the colonized or poor or brown have been brutalized, and their stories written by the conquerors. But the wonderful discovery one makes while reading what’s often painful and heart-breaking is that Guerrero’s the one telling us. In other words, the re-writing is begun. This is a powerful, necessary book.”                                 
                                                                                                                                    — Ross Gay, author of
Bringing the Shovel Down

"A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying is populated by...women who defy and trouble long-held assumptions about, and expectations of, motherhood and maternal behavior: here, mothers take lovers, make war, cause damage — “make carnage of [their] own mouth[s].” And they also write daring poems that break with polite and romanticized representations of femininity, situating the woman as the source of her own volition, a daunting force to be reckoned with."
                                                                                                                                   Rigoberto Gonzalez for LA Review of Books

"..these verses of germination and carrying, of labor and production, deliver us to a place of potent ferocity, expressed in multilingual cries, embodied by the wide, red lips of earthenware vessels, and through eyes that refuse to back down."
                                                                                                                                       Diego Báez for Booklist Online

San Antonio's new poet laureate, Laurie Ann Guerrero was born and raised in the Southside of San Antonio and received the Academy of American Poets Prize, among others, at Smith College. Winner of the 2012 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, her first full-length collection, A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying, selected by Francisco X. Alarcón, was released by University of Notre Dame Press in 2013. Guerrero's poetry and critical work have appeared in Huizache, Texas Monthly, Bellevue Review, Women's Studies Quarterly, Global City Review, Texas Observer, Chicana/Latina Studies, Feminist Studies and others. Guerrero holds a B.A. in English 
Language & Literature from Smith College and an MFA in poetry from Drew University. Guerrero's chapbook, Babies under the Skin (2008), won the Panhandler Publishing Award, chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye. A CantoMundo fellow and member of the Macondo Writers' Workshop, Guerrero’s work has been highlighted in the LA Review of Books, The Poetry Foundation/Harriet Blog, and Poets & Writers Magazine in which she was named one of ten top, emerging poets in 2013.  Other honors include fellowships from the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation and the Artist Foundation of San Antonio. Guerrero has served on the faculty at Palo Alto College, University of the Incarnate Word, University of Texas-El Paso, and Gemini Ink. She is a visiting writer at Our Lady of the Lake University and lives and writes in San Antonio.