Lotería: Poems (The Sabine Series in Literature) (Paperback)

Lotería: Poems (The Sabine Series in Literature) By Esteban Rodríguez Cover Image

Lotería: Poems (The Sabine Series in Literature) (Paperback)


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A traditional game of chance popular in Mexico and in Mexican American culture, Lotería is poetically rendered in Esteban Rodríguez’s eighth collection, with each poem revolving around one of the fifty-four cards. Using the image presented as a catalyst for exploration and self-reflection, Rodríguez unveils the familial journey between two countries and cultures through both a surreal and narrative lens. Here, a mother unearths a severed hand in the desert. A father discovers his heart among a heap of discarded items. And at one point, the speaker—toggling between his role as witness and son—finds himself in a canoe on a river contemplating the meaning behind an authentic experience. Lyrical, insightful, and honestly engaging, Lotería sheds light on a world that doesn’t so easily reveal itself, adding to Rodríguez’s prolific and important oeuvre.

The Sabine Series in Literature
ESTEBAN RODRÍGUEZ is the author of five poetry collections, most recently The Valley (Sundress Publications 2021), and the essay collection Before the Earth Devours Us (Split/Lip Press 2021). He is the Interviews Editor for the EcoTheo Review, Senior Book Reviews Editor for Tupelo Quarterly, and Associate Poetry Editor for AGNI. He currently lives in central Texas.
Product Details ISBN: 9781680033229
ISBN-10: 1680033220
Publisher: Texas Review Press
Publication Date: November 14th, 2023
Pages: 82
Language: English
Series: The Sabine Series in Literature
“In Lotería—which draws its form from the Mexican game of chance yet manages to convey a sense of inevitability with every line—Esteban Rodríguez presents intimate and compassionate portraits of family members. Among the most vivid are those of his father, whose crossing of the desert is imagined in kaleidoscopic, multivalent sequences both harrowing and hallucinatory, and his mother, whose high spirits and physical sufferings are vividly reconstructed and turned for moving insights. Deeply companionable, offered in a voice that is simultaneously energetic and guided by confident restraint, these poems are full of love and clarity, an uncommon and welcome combination.” 
John Hennessy, author of Coney Island Pilgrims

“Esteban Rodríguez’s Lotería is the story of the crossing.  The hunger, violence, struggle, and death experienced by those who take on this dangerous venture is itself one kind of lottery, some make it and some don’t.  There is fortune and luck being sought and some is imposed, but either way, these poems show us the vulnerability and humility of a family who has crossed the board in search of the lotería, not the game, but the promise.” 
Richard Boada, author of We Find Each Other in the Darkness

"Between. Not here, not there. Not this, or that. Somewhere but not someplace. Not easy to put your, wrap your, place your—but confidence, and masterful touch with language, is what makes Esteban Rodríguez a credible, incredible even, witness to the between bisecting the Mexican and American experience."
Foreword Reviews
— Matt Sutherland

"Written in single-stanza vertical oblongs, the poems evoke portraits, which seems fitting, since many of them sketch an individual in thumbnail narratives. . . . But the poems make sense as a deck of cards, too, as sets of symbols shuffled across the pages. The stories span from past to future and float free of a linear narrative."
Sylee Gore in Poetry Foundation's Harriet Books
— Sylee Gore

"a collection that speaks to the migrant universal and the challenge of overcoming the unknown"
Full House Literary
— A. R. Arthur

"[In Lotería] the poet memorializes his father's hard labor, alluding to the Atlas myth and describing his versatile work boots. The familial struggle for survival has buoyancy in Rodríguez's telling."
Rebecca Foster in Shelf Awareness
— Rebecca Foster