Virgin

Virgin

Selected by Ross Gay as winner of the inaugural Jake Adam York Prize, Analicia Sotelo's debut collection of poems is a vivid portrait of the artist as a young woman.In Virgin, Sotelo walks the line between autobiography and mythmaking, offering up identities like dishes at a feast. These poems devour and complicate tropes of femininity--of naivete, of careless abandon--bef...

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Title:Virgin
Author:Analicia Sotelo
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Edition Language:English

Virgin Reviews

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I was hooked from the first poem, "

    " from this impressive debut collection by Analicia Sotelo.

    My favorites included:

    "Ariadne's Guide to Getting a Man"

    "

    "

    "My English Victorian Dating Troubles."

    What I like about them - the way they feel youthful, but not naive. The way the poet's voice knows her inexperience but moves through the world deliberately masking her understanding of it so other women feel safe, and she herself is safer (but

    I was hooked from the first poem, "

    " from this impressive debut collection by Analicia Sotelo.

    My favorites included:

    "Ariadne's Guide to Getting a Man"

    "

    "

    "My English Victorian Dating Troubles."

    What I like about them - the way they feel youthful, but not naive. The way the poet's voice knows her inexperience but moves through the world deliberately masking her understanding of it so other women feel safe, and she herself is safer (but not from love.) The way there are slight elements of Mexican culture, the way someone who grows up in another country still has some cultural references from their background. The division of poems into sections like "Myths" and "Parables." The characters that have already started to recur in her memory, her dreams, and now her poems. Great stuff.

  • Alana

    To admit I love you would be to admit

    I love ideas more than men,

    myself even less than ideas.

  • emma

    At its core, Virgin is a book of the myths surrounding the heart: the myth of who a bittersweet single girl has been she has been: “People think I’m sweet… look now: my heart // is a fist of barbed wire” (8, 18), myth of those she'd once desired, myth of unreachable fathers, urban legends behind the likes of Frieda Kahlo, and traditional myths, rooted in Ariadne and Theseus.

    Sotelo explores the feminine, specifically the bittersweet single girl in all her conflicted, tired-of-your-bullshit, lovi

    At its core, Virgin is a book of the myths surrounding the heart: the myth of who a bittersweet single girl has been she has been: “People think I’m sweet… look now: my heart // is a fist of barbed wire” (8, 18), myth of those she'd once desired, myth of unreachable fathers, urban legends behind the likes of Frieda Kahlo, and traditional myths, rooted in Ariadne and Theseus.

    Sotelo explores the feminine, specifically the bittersweet single girl in all her conflicted, tired-of-your-bullshit, loving, hungry, reliable complexity. Her diction is effortlessly intentional and thoughtful; she does not write with blame or bitterness.

    I wrote a close reading

    back in July.

  • Aloysiusi Lionel

    This book (actually, an e-book sent by the generous Mark Anthony Cayanan) reminds me of the films Ladybird and The Little Hours, both of which were released in 2017, explored how a woman's knowledge and intimacy with her own sexuality can render her vulnerable once and powerful ever, and instructed men on how to look at a woman: not with elation for the giftedness of the body, but with fascination for the outspokenness of the mind. "Now I have three heads: one / for speech, one for sex, / and on

    This book (actually, an e-book sent by the generous Mark Anthony Cayanan) reminds me of the films Ladybird and The Little Hours, both of which were released in 2017, explored how a woman's knowledge and intimacy with her own sexuality can render her vulnerable once and powerful ever, and instructed men on how to look at a woman: not with elation for the giftedness of the body, but with fascination for the outspokenness of the mind. "Now I have three heads: one / for speech, one for sex, / and one for second-guessing." Analicia Sotelo presents in Virgin (Milkweed Editions, 2018) an autobiographical persona who traced her roots then braved her way through the society's double standards with her boldness and courage. But the lyricism she offered bordered on quietude and composure, all the poems that are desired to articulate the overarching theme are but gentle piercings on the soul. "We're all performing our bruises". And this performance is like telling us, there's nothing wrong with stories of abandonment, there's nothing wrong with counts of loneliness and separation, there's nothing wrong with wild fantasies, as long as these are expressed beautifully, without the intention of forceful imposition. With the prudence of myths, of parables and of motifs of the speculative, this postcolonial attempt to represent the aspirations of young Mexican-American girls gracefully achieved its organic unity. May publications like this reach our archipelago, where people busy themselves with survival, where people "think" that "thinking", the occasional contemplations on art, is not affordable.

  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)

    This was a great collection of poems reflecting on how a young woman comes to find her place in the world and love herself. Many of the poems use the Ariadne myth as a basis, but others relate to art and her Mexican American culture.

  • Matt Ely

    I appreciated the multiplicity of styles, sometimes letting words languish and drag, other times pushing one after another. Her titles work incredibly well as a supplement to the poem itself, with examples like "I'm trying to write a poem about a virgin and it's awful," setting the tone that helpfully contrasts with a series inspired by Greek myth. I read this volume quickly for school, but it deserves more time than I gave it, and there are large sections I would like to return to at a slower p

    I appreciated the multiplicity of styles, sometimes letting words languish and drag, other times pushing one after another. Her titles work incredibly well as a supplement to the poem itself, with examples like "I'm trying to write a poem about a virgin and it's awful," setting the tone that helpfully contrasts with a series inspired by Greek myth. I read this volume quickly for school, but it deserves more time than I gave it, and there are large sections I would like to return to at a slower pace.

  • Eli

    This collection's title announces a balancing act: Sotelo is trying to navigate both the stark world of sexual politics and the richly allusive potential of Catholic mythology. Unfortunately, though there are poems in this volume where these things come together in a perfect collusion of image and intellect (my favorite,

    is frankly gorgeous), most of the poems in this collection fall too far on one side of that line for my taste, ending up either sounding like a s

    This collection's title announces a balancing act: Sotelo is trying to navigate both the stark world of sexual politics and the richly allusive potential of Catholic mythology. Unfortunately, though there are poems in this volume where these things come together in a perfect collusion of image and intellect (my favorite,

    is frankly gorgeous), most of the poems in this collection fall too far on one side of that line for my taste, ending up either sounding like a salvo of epigrams or a jumble of images.

  • Kayla

    I don't read a lot of poetry, but I thought this was okay. There's some good stuff about male toxicity here.

  • Naomi

    This

    a book with serious poems that interweave remnants from classic Western mythology, Catholic imagery, and Mexican American experiences.

    But the whole collection was worth reading to be surprised/tickled by these lines:

    Anyway, my favorites are "I'm Trying to Write a Poem about a Virgin and It's Awful

    This

    a book with serious poems that interweave remnants from classic Western mythology, Catholic imagery, and Mexican American experiences.

    But the whole collection was worth reading to be surprised/tickled by these lines:

    Anyway, my favorites are "I'm Trying to Write a Poem about a Virgin and It's Awful," "Trauma with a Second Chance at Humiliation," "My English Victorian Dating Troubles," and "The Adriadne Year."

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