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The Strange House Testifies

ISBN: 978-1-931010-50-4
88 pp. | paper | $12.00


poetry by Ruth Irupé Sanabria

In her first full-length volume of poems, Ruth Irupé Sanabria explores language's power to destroy and create through the imagination and narrative of free-verse poems fueled by metaphor, music, and satire. In the first section, the author writes about a genocidal dictatorship that began in 1976 and that brought about, through collusion with the military and even members of the clergy, the disappearances and deaths of thousands of Argentineans. Voices of the children of the disappeared are juxtaposed with "official" exposés on the dictatorship, illuminating their plight in vivid detail. The second section explores racism and poverty from the perspective of a Latina and imbues it with the rhythms of Latino music and jazz. In the third section, the poet turns the tables, exploring the idea that victims of political violence may actually be enabling it through complicity, apathy, and guilt. Written in a variety of styles, Sanabria's poetry provides a fresh perspective on social injustice and on poetry itself.

"These extraordinary poems do the impossible: [They] bring the confusion and horror of a child's unspeakable suffering into brilliant focus, with all the magic and power the best literature confers."--Margaret Randall, author of Their Backs to the Sea (2009) and To Change the World: My Years in Cuba (2009)

"This is an amazingly authoritative first book, blending English with Spanish, blending the poet's childhood as the daughter of disappeared political prisoners in Argentina with the realities of being a 'ghetto girl' in the war zones of American public schools. Ruth Sanabria is both a poet of witness and a lyric poet of enormous scope and talent. . . . Here is an authentic voice and vision; here is a blueprint for the survival of our hearts and souls."--Gail Wronsky, author of Poems for Infidels (2005)