From award-winning fiction writer and book critic, Daniel A. Olivas, comes his first collection of poetry, Crossing the Border. These narrative poems delve deeply into the many ways we cross borders of race, culture, language, religion, and privilege. With humor and pathos, Olivas draws from his own life and from the stories of others to serve as a witness to the great variety of experiences that make us human. With grace and eloquence, he invites readers to cross these borders with him on this intense but necessary journey.
Praise for Crossing the Border
The poetry of Daniel Olivas rings distinctly wise, sensitive, and true. All are welcomed here, from the woman writing to her lover in prison, to the victims of a tragic flood. The injustices and devastations of past and present will not be silenced or erased because Olivas has called forth a powerful community to the pages of Crossing the Border. Cross over and listen to those who suffer and survive, and to those who protest and persevere—each of them ‘speaking their own special language.’
– Rigoberto González, author of Other Fugitives and Other Strangers: Poems
These haunting narrative poems by Daniel Olivas are rooted in the heart of his beloved Los Angeles. They stretch across that infinite, mythical place called the Borderlands and plant themselves firmly in the unchartered territory of a new, great American literature. There is a remarkable interlocutory immediacy to this collection. The poet calls out his subjects one by one, be they persons or history itself. His muse is direct, lyrical, piercing, exacting, glaring, unforgiving. In this extraordinary collection, we hear a new-old America singing.
– Himilce Novas, author of Mangos, Bananas and Coconuts: A Cuban Love Story
Daniel Olivas’s poems are necessary things: they tell stories that need to be told, render scenes that need to be seen, isolate moments that need to be examined in all their beauty and suffering. In Crossing the Border, Olivas’s poems meld numerous cultures, historic and current, and forge an identity that incorporates insider and outsider. Actor and victim, witness and innocent, all are represented in Olivas’s powerful first collection, engaging the reader in the act of crossing over via the tools that language possesses when in skillful hands.