Synopses & Reviews
In Breathing Between the Lines, the writer returns to poetry, her first love. From childhood, writing poems has been both a refuge and a release through the power of her own imagination. In 1988, however, Martinez's poetry was used against her in a federal indictment for smuggling Salvadoran refugees into the United States. The incriminating poem carried this punch line: "In my country, we sing of a baby in a manger, finance death squads". Seven long months later, she was acquitted. After the trial - "a poet's nightmare, in which words, so full of liberating possibilities, were twisted and used against me" - Martinez's poetry dried up. Years passed before "the miracle" of writing finally brought her reconciliation and a return to sanity from the searing experience. Once again, poetry now drives her life, fills her days, and gives meaning to a world gone crazy.
Demetria Martínez has entered the public consciousness by way of the heart. In 1994, she captured a Western States Book Award with her first novel, Mother Tongue, which went on to win widespread national attention. Now, in Breathing between the Lines, the writer returns to poetry, her first love. Many of the poems in this book touch on the themes from Mother Tongue, about an American activist who falls in love with a Salvadoran political refugee. Weaving together threads of love and family, social conviction and activism, loss and renewal, Breathing between the Lines carries the reader deep inside the head and heart of a talented Chicana writer. Page by page, the journey is an exhilarating one. What we find at the end is up to us.
About the Author
Demetria Martínez is the author of the novel Mother Tongue, which won the 1994 Western States Book Award for fiction. She writes a national monthly column for the National Catholic Reporter and is involved in the Arizona Border Rights Project, which documents abuses by the U.S. Border Patrol. She lives in Tucson.