Biblio File column
Yesika Salgado "is a Los Angeles based Salvadoran poet who writes about her family, her culture, her city, and her fat body. Salgado is a two-time National Poetry Slam finalist and the recipient of the 2020 International Latino Book Award in Poetry."
In a presentation entitled "To The Bloom—An Evening of Poetry and Conversation," sponsored by the Butte College Diversity Committee, she read from her work Thursday, February 23 from 7:00-9:00 pm at the Chico Women's Club.
In "Hermosa" ($16.95 in paperback from Not a Cult; also for Amazon Kindle), Salgado completes a trilogy of transformational meditations begun in "Corazón" and "Tesoro." She uses free verse (with few capital letters) to chart the course, through many shoals, of becoming "hermosa" (gorgeous, with a kind of seductive flair).
In "The Trick" the poet confesses: "today I am not a writer. I am my halted Spanish and insecurities. I am fingers that know letters but not grammar. my only degree is my library card. I read someone else's words and shrink. turn into a speck of envy. … can't stop feeling like I am a cheap magician’s trick. if I move too quickly I’ll give myself away. you'll learn, I am only stacking these words together to pull myself out. I don't know how you got here. I wasn't trying to save you. all I have been doing is staying alive."
Staying alive is not always easy. In "The Almost Death," the poet writes: "did I tell you / about the time / I was dying? / about my uterus / that couldn't stop bleeding / the doctors blaming my fatness / and me agreeing / did I tell you / about the time / I couldn't get dressed / because I was more crime scene / than anything…."
There are childhood traumas and times when "love goes sour." Laments, yes, but also a self-discovery that is sometimes sexually explicit.
In a word addressed to "my love" (the reader?), Salgado writes "I hope within these pages you are also able to find your own beauty, what calls you home, what sets you free. … in full bloom, Yesika."
Copyright Chico Enterprise-Record; used by permission