the anthology “Contra. Texas Poets Speak Out.” is one of the strongest volumes of political poetry we’ve had the honor of reading. the diverse 47 voices represented within represent the whole of Texas, from north to south, east to west. the stated mission of this publication is to activate people to register and go vote. to that end, all profits from the book are going to MOVE Texas. now about the poetry.
how appropriate now is the first line of the first poem by Alexandra van de Kamp: ” November is giving me the finger today”. hold on, it only gets better from there. poems which make you scream in agreement, such as when Amalia Ortiz tells us “Using politics as a ball gag does not make you kinky.” you will have your heart ripped out when Omer Ahmed writes “The lights will go out, because no one has paid the electric bill/so everyone is relieved when the klan shows up with torches.” you will cry reading Edward Vidaurre’s Men, Women, and Children as “Women/Are raped and killed and mistreated in all systems & all borders.” may you find hope in Buddy Wakefield’s admonition “I won’t give you the gift of hating you.”
this is a volume which deserves a spot on your table. do not shelve it, but it out again and again to remind yourself of how important your voice is, to inspire you to use that voice. and buy a copy for a friend (or enemy).