JOE JIMENEZ & MONICA TERESA ORTIZ-Rattlesnake Allegory & Autobiography of A Semiromantic Anarchist


Friday, July 5 at 7PM

speaking & signing
Rattlesnake Allegory & Autobiography of a Semiromantic Anarchist 



From poems about the speaker’s relationship with loneliness after the suicide of his lover to poems about discovering that dark part of oneself that he never knew existed, this collection is about the transformations of a queer brown body and the echoes of those shifts found in South Texas’s feathers, shadows, and trees.

These poems are about “the moment inside the body / when joy is not born as much as it is made out of anything / the rest of the world doesn’t want.” Using land and South Texas’s flora and fauna as references, these poems explore aloneness and manhood as articulations of want, asking the reader to “take a moan by the hand, see what good it does.” Thematically, these poems address loss after transformative experiences, admitting to a reader, “All night I might fathom taking back / something precious / that somehow, / long ago, or not so long ago, I don’t know, / ripped off, / yanked from bone, / sloughed off like a husk.” These poems are about getting to know one’s body after being distanced from it, of recognizing a queer brown body inextricably belonging to lineages of loss, and then realizing that some new body has emerged from where the old parts were lost, or taken, as in the final sequence of four poems, “Lechuza Sketches,” where the speaker manifests the Tex-Mexican folkloric figure of a lechuza, the human-owl hybrid said to inhabit parts of South Texas and the Northern Mexican border. In the end, this is a collection of poems about more deeply engaging with one’s queerness, one’s brownness, and understanding that there are parts inside us we never knew existed, or as the Lechuza Sketches speaker offers, “In the world, some part of us is often / unseen / & not glorious. / But what if we are? / Glorious. Seen.”


Ortiz asks us to peer into the post-apocalyptic landscape of our times. The voice of these poems is ragged and sensual, wearing the scars of a life lived in protest just by loving. It seduces us with the tantalizing declaration that it knows "all the possible ways a world ends." Despite the promise of certain death, the voice still beckons, offering us the possibility being side by side through the blast, if only to face the end together.


Joe Jiménez is the author of the poetry collection The Possibilities of Mud and Bloodline, a young adult novel. Jiménez is the recipient of the 2016 Letras Latinas/ Red Hen Press Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared on the PBS NewsHour and Lambda Literary sites. Jiménez was recently awarded a Lucas Artists Literary Artists Fellowship from 2017-2020. He lives in San Antonio, Texas, and is a member of the Macondo Writing Workshops. For more information, visit


Mónica teresa ortiz is a poet born and raised in Texas. Black Radish Books published her first poetry collection, MUTED BLOOD, in 2018. Her chapbook ofcrónicas, AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A SEMIROMANTIC ANARCHIST, was the winner of the first Host Publications Chapbook Prize, and was published in March 2019. ortiz is the poetry editor for Raspa Magazine, a Queer Latinx literary and art journal.

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Event date: 
Friday, July 5, 2019 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Rattlesnake Allegory Cover Image
ISBN: 9781597098991
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Red Hen Press - May 21st, 2019

Autobiography of a Semiromantic Anarchist Cover Image
ISBN: 9780924047855
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Host Publications - March 19th, 2019

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