4 out of 4 stars
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“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” This is a quote from Robert Frost and it perfectly describes J.C. Salazar’s collection of poems, states of unitedness. I cannot remember the last time that I enjoyed a book of poetry as much as I enjoyed this one. This book is full of emotions that I have had but could not fully explain and now I do not need to as this book does it for me.
J.C. Salazar was born in Monterrey, Mexico and grew up in Houston, Texas. To use his own words, these poems “contain a preoccupation with our connection as human beings as well as our unitedness as citizens of America.” states of unitedness is a collection of over 60 poems divided into six sections, each having its own theme such as Loves, Random and Real; Tributes; and Tattered Earth. While the majority of the poems are written in free verse, the topics of the poems have more variety.
What did I like about this book? Everything. The topics ranged from love to family to friendship to celebrations of icons such as Selena Quintanilla and to the immigrant experience. Salazar writes about many people (not just Selena, but also family members), emotions, and events in a way that, as a Mexican-American, I can relate to, but that is not to say that this book is only for what Salazar calls “hyphenated Americans.” The strength of his writing style is that he is able to write about these unique experiences in a way that one does not have to be an immigrant to understand. Salazar also expresses thoughts on the issues of Syrians and the Middle East along with comments on humanity and humaneness.
There is nothing negative that I can say about this collection. Poetry has its own rules, especially when it comes to punctuation, so I cannot say that there are any errors in the poems. I found one mistake in the introduction, but other than that this collection seems to be very well edited. There are two poems that are completely in Spanish so that could prove to be a challenge for readers without any knowledge of the language.
I rate this book a 4 out of 4 stars. states of unitedness is a love letter to what Salazar calls “hyphenated Americans,” and it helps non-hyphenated Americans to get a good look into the Mexican-American culture and his experiences. I recommend this to all readers of poetry. This collection was so moving that I know I will re-read it many more times.
states of unitedness
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