Synopses & Reviews
“Duality” is at the center of Flamenco Hips and Red Mud Feet
, a striking collection of poems both intimate and grand. The poet, Dixie Salazar, has spent a lifetime forging her own identity out of two cultures: “On one side was my fathers world: Spanish speaking from las montanas. On the other side was my mothers world: a deep Southern drawl wafting from the magnolia and chinaberry trees.” As her poems reveal, she is a product of both cultures but not completely at home in either one.
In the two sections of the book—“Inside” and “Outside”—parallelism and symmetry interact with themes both public and private. Flamenco Hips and Red Mud Feet presents thirty-nine poems in free verse and traditional poetic forms, especially the sonnet and adaptations of the sonnet. The sonnet—usually consisting of the octet (eight lines) that sets up the main idea of the poem and the sestet (six lines) that resolves, answers or completes the poem—is a natural form for a poet whose identity is divided. Double sonnets and “double-linked sonnets doubled” reflect the duality the poet feels inside her skin. And the poems written to and for a “lost sister” reinforce the theme.
Throughout this provocative book, Salazar navigates the alienation of her cultural in-between-ness. By the end, she appears to become more comfortable with her status of “outsider,” deciding that she doesnt need to give in to pressures to pick a side or to accept others ideas of where her own “borders” begin or end.
Duality" is at the center of this striking collection of poems both intimate and grand. The poet offers a multifaceted reflection on what it means to straddle two cultures: her father's Spanish-speaking and her mother's speaking in a Southern drawl. Unexpectedly, the sonnet form helps her give voice to her "in-between-ness.
About the Author
Dixie Salazar has published three books of poetry: Hotel Fresno, Reincarnation of the Commonplace (winner of the National Poetry Book Award), and Blood Mysteries (Arizona, 2003). She has also published a novel, Limbo, along with numerous poems and short stories in more than fifty literary journals, including The Missouri Review, Poetry International, and Ploughshares. Currently she shows oil paintings and collage work at the Silva/Salazar studios in Fresno. She has taught at California State University, Fresno, as well as in the California prisons and the Fresno County jail.