Synopses & Reviews
Set in present-day Southern California, Antidote for Night is a heartbreak lyric, a corrido, a love song to California's city lights and far-flung outskirts—the San Diego backcountry, the Central Valley, the Inland Empire, and the Mojave Desert. Marsha de la O's voice is a kind of free jazz, musically rich with LA noir and the vastness of metropolitan Southern California.
Marsha de la O's Black Hope won the New Issues Prize from the University of Western Michigan and an Editor's Choice Award. She has taught Spanish-speaking children in Los Angeles and Ventura County for thirty years.
De La O (Black Hope) counters Southern California's sunny image and reveals it to be filled with darkness thirst and hunger in this evocative collection winner of the 2015 Isabella Gardner Poetry Award. "Hunger is the first and/ last word. When all words in California/ slide into the sea hunger will be the last to fall" she writes her lines unhinging the region's secrets through memories of everyday people—her working class father her late mother and the women and men who journey to California only to brutally fail. De La O demonstrates deft control through a sense of restraint—in terms of both narrative and melodic rhythm—that is noticeable in her enjambment and she creates tension via selective disclosures of information: "Did I mention I'm afraid of the dark?" Drawing from the symbolic imagery of the corvid De La O parallels the haunting quality of the insatiable bird through her portrayal of women: "That night I felt a bird enter and sink down/ through me the bird that is thirst// the bird that could drink an ocean and not be quenched." Like the women and birds she depicts De La O's California offers transcendent mystery as an end in itself and in doing so transforms a regional poetry into something more universal. (Sept.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
This Isabella Gardner Award-winning collection deals with the press of mortality and the violent losses of young men of color.
Antidote for Night is a book of remedies for dire circumstances, rock-bottom realities, and the unrelenting weight of mortality, specifically among young men of color. Set in present-day California, this Isabella Gardner Award-winning collection is a corrido to city lights and outskirts—the San Diego backcountry, the Inland Empire, the Mojave Desert—that teaches us what it takes to see in darkness.
About the Author
Marsha de la Os Black Hope won the New Issues Poetry Prize from the University of Western Michigan and an Editors Choice Award. Her work appears widely in such journals as Barrow Street, Passages North, Solo, and Third Coast, and has been anthologized in Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals (Ballantine), Saying What Needs to Be Said (Solo Press); Bear Flag Republic: Prose Poems and Poetics from California (Greenhouse Review Press); the poetry workshop handbook One for the Money: The Sentence as Poetic Form (Lynx House Press), and the forthcoming Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Pacific Coast Poetry Series). She is the recipient of the 2014 Morton Marcus Memorial Poetry Prize, the dA Poetry Prize, the Ventura Poetry Prize, two cultural arts grants from the City of Ventura, and a Tumblewords Poetry Residency. With her husband, poet Phil Taggart, she publishes the poetry journal Askew.