Civil Coping Mechanisms/The Accomplices, February 2019
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My third full-length poetry book, Losing Miami, is a bilingual experiment in grieving the potential sinking of Miami due to climate change and rising sea levels. What are we losing if we lose Miami, a seemingly impossible city formed out of Caribbean migration and the transformation of language? This book asks how we cope with loss at such a grand scale, all while the world continues to rapidly change.
PRAISE FOR LOSING MIAMI
“Here, as elsewhere, Miami is ghosting. And if not from climatic fuckery and erosion, then by the heaving weight of The Thousands. Years? Tongues? People? Desires? Yes. ‘I designed this mystery to be heavy,’ writes Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué, whose beautifully disquieting Losing Miami swoons and sways from damp heat and Technicolor house paint. Flies, with their hundred side-eyes, twitch through these summer dreams. Meteorological phenomena swirl in the flesh and dating profiles of the collection’s coterie of Spanish, English, and Spanglish speakers. Yet, loss is the lingua franca that swallows them all. ‘I hate to admit it, but I’m not trying to make a change, I’m trying to grieve.” Even so, these tropic grotesques put me through changes.’
“In Losing Miami, Gabriel Ojeda-Sague longs for a city he is losing, has lost, which has been built of, in, and through loss. Its language is both and neither, a language singular to Miami and Ojeda-Sague’s playful refusal to authenticate. Here we have a yearning that veers between nostalgia and el brillito of a queer utopianism. It is too much and definitely too little. It is shameless and maybe a little deliciously ashamed. It doesn’t care if there is no return, if there is no closure, if all the roads lead to other roads. This book has no better home than far from home, where se goza como nunca while running on empty into the sea.”
-Raquel Salas Rivera
“In Losing Miami, Florida figures as the locus for family, exile, and climate change in this beyond-book, which commemorates and elegizes the id-beauty of the state. Like Eduardo Galeano, Ojeda-Sague speaks in fictions and dreams and hurricanes in order to capture the myriad currents that shape the geography and history of the state, particularly in the Cuban-American community that he describes with tenderness and acuity in an inspired approach to inscription.”
-Carmen Giménez Smith
“This innovative book captures the author’s reflections on growing up in Miami as a child of Cuban exiles, and then leaving as an adult who worries about the precarious future of the coastal city. Throughout, the bilingual verse and prose poems imagine different forms of loss (migration, hurricanes, environmental destruction), as well as the hopeful possibilities of re-growth (family, mangroves, dreams). Yet Losing Miami does not function as a return flight home; instead, it is a home itself, a nest of words placed on a higher branch to keep ‘the murmurs of the exile’ safe from the rising waters.”
-Craig Santos Perez
Let the wise, prodigious embrace of these poems get ahold of you. Gabriel Ojeda-Sague has given us an American poetry where English is no longer the great white hallucination of literature, but something that is finally more egalitarian as only a poet could sincerely DEMAND! Losing Miami breaks and mends the heart in the poet's bottles of messages thrown into the Atlantic to reach his familial home of Cuba. This book is addictive brilliance, the way I yearn for all books of poetry to be.