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 “I know this book changed me. The book itself knows change, how to change itself, knows so well how transformation―vast essential change which would seem to oppose a self―brings a person ever closer to their truth.” ―Brenda Shaughnessy


"In the spirit of Whitman, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo slips in silently to lie down between the bridegroom and the bride, to inhabit many bodies and many souls, between rapture and grief. 'I want everything to touch me.' These are poems that open borders both personal and political, a map of silences and celebrations. 'You called it cutting apart/ I called it song.'"―D. A. Powell

"Federico Garcia Lorca described duende as a struggle, not a thought, and the deep and natural lyricism of Marcelo Hernandez Castillo’s Cenzontle is a paragon of that struggle, where ‘it’s easy to make honey/from what is beautiful and what is not.’ In this exquisite debut collection, longing twins with inheritance to consider the interiority of nationhood and the legacy of masculinity and exile. Castillo’s finely-honed poems celebrate and reveal the contours of physical and historical intimacies, a feast for the eyes and heart." ―Carmen Giménez Smith 


Publishers Weekly

"Castillo’s lyrically rich and cinematic debut compresses the emotional resonances of lived experience into poetic narratives of devotion, eroticism, family, labor, and migration. The poems make displays of fragility and power by turn, a duality drawn into relief by the precarious condition of the undocumented immigrant."


The New York Times

"Castillo embraces an expansive ambiguity — of language, of gender, of nationality — that can sound celebratory and mournful at once."

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