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A suite of poems that channels the legendary singer-songwriter Ritchie Valens to examine and question mid-twentieth-century conceptions of race and art, identity and desire

Ragged and raging across the spectrums of cognition, race, and gender, Tarta Americana lyrically envisions forms of survival outside neuronormative perceptions and histories. Against the recent tide of white nationalism in the United States, Tarta Americana finds a rhinestone in Ritchie Valens, the rock and roll legend, surfacing across time and bodies, genders and sounds, displacing the linear unfolding of desire and biography. Valens, the embodiment of corporeal transcendence, guides Martinez as he expresses his own neurodiversity, his struggles and triumphs, interrogating memory, gender, and race, traversing pain in search of compassion and joy. Tarta Americana, tarred and glittering, melodic in its screams, overdrives text and space in chase of American politics that could, at last, harmonize love with redemption.
© Teresa Veramendi
J. Michael Martinez is the author of three collections of poetry, including Heredities, which received the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Museum of the Americas, which was a winner of the National Poetry Series Competition and long-listed for the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry. He is an assistant professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at San Jose State University. View titles by J. Michael Martinez

About

A suite of poems that channels the legendary singer-songwriter Ritchie Valens to examine and question mid-twentieth-century conceptions of race and art, identity and desire

Ragged and raging across the spectrums of cognition, race, and gender, Tarta Americana lyrically envisions forms of survival outside neuronormative perceptions and histories. Against the recent tide of white nationalism in the United States, Tarta Americana finds a rhinestone in Ritchie Valens, the rock and roll legend, surfacing across time and bodies, genders and sounds, displacing the linear unfolding of desire and biography. Valens, the embodiment of corporeal transcendence, guides Martinez as he expresses his own neurodiversity, his struggles and triumphs, interrogating memory, gender, and race, traversing pain in search of compassion and joy. Tarta Americana, tarred and glittering, melodic in its screams, overdrives text and space in chase of American politics that could, at last, harmonize love with redemption.

Author

© Teresa Veramendi
J. Michael Martinez is the author of three collections of poetry, including Heredities, which received the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Museum of the Americas, which was a winner of the National Poetry Series Competition and long-listed for the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry. He is an assistant professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at San Jose State University. View titles by J. Michael Martinez

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