Wake the Others:

A Biography of my Motherl̶a̶n̶d̶


Art by Liseth Amaya

Art by Liseth Amaya

Read the interview with Black Lawrence Press, November 2018

“Willy Palomo’s outstanding debut takes a scalpel to the heart of biography as a genre, cuts through to the arteries of inherited nostalgia for a motherland, and opens the capillaries of a mama, abuela, and bisabuela’s traumas. This book is a gut wrenching family narrative of the history of violence in El Salvador and a family’s journey north in hope of stability and the possibility of joy. Palomo’s poems are an important and unique addition to the growing voice of Central American writers in the United States.”

—Natalie Scenters-Zapico, author of The Verging Cities and Lima :: Limón

“ ‘[E]ach wound in my flesh / becomes a mouth / so kiss so chant so swallow’ sings the piece titled ‘Said Cipactli to her son.’ Deceptively straightforward, this tercet is emblematic of the art Willy Palomo unfurls in this arresting debut, foregrounding, I would argue, a particular gender-conscious poetics—’some call it double labor / —the way our mothers raised children working // doubles & cooking dinners for mangy men piss-drunk / on cheap beer—but it was more than that.’ Indeed: the toolbox on display here, deployed in poem after poem, startled me, took my breath away.”

—Francisco Aragón, author of After Rubén and His Tongue a Swath of Sky