Goodbye, Mexico: Poems of Remembrance

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Finalist in the 2014 International Latino Book Award for anthologies. 

In many ways, this anthology is a love song to Mexico. 

And who better to sing and celebrate on the written page than poets, whose poetic art originated in the oral traditions of so many cultures?  Who better than poets whose art was named centuries ago by the Aztecs “floricanto” – flower-song?  (In Nahautl, flower is the symbol of truth; song the symbol for prayer.)

The genesis of this anthology was a question raised during the numerous cross-country book signings I did for Our Lost Border: Essays on Life Amid the Narco-Violence – a book of essays which only included Latino authors.

The question was this:  “Could you please edit a book that gives voice to non-Latino authors about how much we loved Mexico?”

This heartfelt question resonated deeply inside me.  So deeply, in fact, that I committed to creating such a book.   I choose poetry due to its capacity and ability to contain heat-fired truths in a concise format.  Then, I found the right publisher, send out a national call for submissions, edited the poems, organized the manuscript, its sections, its glossary, etc.

I’m thrilled with the results—an anthology including a beautifully wide spectrum of poets, some who are nationally acclaimed and some who are lesser known but deserving of a wider audience. All of these gifted “singers” are eager to bring to you, the reader, their experiences and perceptions of the pre-cartel Mexico.

Let us all sing to the mythic and real Mexico we loved with the fervent hope that it will return one day.

cLICK PHOTO TO OPEN POETS' MEXICO SCRAPBOOK.

cLICK PHOTO TO OPEN POETS' MEXICO SCRAPBOOK.

In this time when Texans are polarized on how to respond best to the ongoing humanitarian, political and economic crises in our neighbor Mexico, Houston peace officer-turned-poet Sarah Cortez has assembled some of North America’s finest bards to call to mind and heart again the Mexico they once knew and loved. […]
With such a license, the poets produced a wonderfully varied array of works evoking subjects both classically surreal (such the wandering woman spirit la llorona in all her horrific power and of course painter Frida Kahlo) and naturally classical (evocations of pyramids, monarch butterflies in Morelia, the white sands of Mazatlan).
— Ed Conroy, San Antonio Express-News, June 20, 2015

Press Release

For a .pdf copy of this release, click here.

For immediate release
January, 2015

Goodbye, Mexico:  Poems of Remembrance
(Texas Review Press, 2015)
Edited by Sarah Cortez

Goodbye, Mexico gathers over 70 unpublished poems that answer the question: What do you remember about Mexico?

Mexico will never be the same as during the last half of the Twentieth century.  The narco-violence by the drug cartels has done much to ravage Mexico’s border and internal cultures.  The country has also been altered irrevocably by the complexities of globalization and by its own inability to shore up a desperately struggling middle class and a failed tourist industry.

Many Americans, who previously traveled to Mexico or lived in close proximity to its vibrant border culture, feel a deep sense of loss for the Mexico that they knew and loved.  This loss engenders memory; memory engenders poems.

Yet, just as each person has his own unique experience of Mexico, each poet has his own complex reactions to remembering Mexico and its people.  The varied and strong voices of accomplished poets reaching into memory and beyond nostalgia fill this volume.  Whether the recollections are sharp or sad, hilarious or tragic, celebratory or condemning, the poems are generated by the desire to remember, to honor, or to document that which is no longer possible in Mexico, or, if possible, is no longer enjoyed with the youthful insouciance of the pre-narco era.

David M. Parsons, 2011 Texas Poet Laureate says of Goodbye, Mexico:

“The poems, truly remarkable in their diversity of content and form, articulate the remorse of the loss of “ole Mexico” and the sentimentality of remembrances toward, “…. an old girlfriend,” to quote Jerry Bradley: “…you want the best for her but are wary of getting too close.  No matter how charming and alluring she seems, she is always capable of turning on you and breaking your heart. “

Parsons continues: “Ever since I read sage/poet, William Jay Smith’s collection about the trail of tears, Cherokee Lottery, I have come to believe that there is no better way to write history than with splendid poetry. Herein, is a collection that rises to that level: a treasury of moving, historical testimonies, each observation penned by many of the finest poets of the Southwest and beyond.”

Sarah Cortez, award-winning editor of Goodbye, Mexico says: “This entire volume is my tribute to Mexico and to the south Texas border culture of my Spanish-Native American-French ancestors who settled these lands generations ago already smitten by their wild beauty and blue-sky freedom.

Poet Laureates included in Goodbye Mexico:

Recent Texas poet laureates in the book:  Alan Birkelbach, Jim Hoggard, karla k. morton, Jan Seale, Larry D. Thomas.  Also included is the first Arizona poet laureate, Alberto Ríos. 

Additional Resources

The anthology also includes a Spanish-English glossary and a separate section where each poet briefly articulates his/her own personal relationship with Mexico in words both fascinating and profound.

Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Texas Review Press (January 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1-68003-004-4
List Price:  $22.95