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one inch punch, Poems by Arlene Biala
one inch punch is a collection of poems responding to the call of ancestors and our own broken bodies, spirits and earth. Each poem offering flows from gut, muscle, and memory into fingertips to strike from the closest distance between "us" and "them," reminding us that beyond each rise to action we must remain rooted in love.
"In this 'spirit of an island' collection we touch miracle. We flow into sorrow and transcendent empowerment. Words here are not words, they are the breaking of rib, of skin, as we listen to mama's kuwentos, those long-time story-gifts of soul-culture continuity and warrior chant. Border mirage, sacred fire-mouth spitter homage to Pele, and hand to hand weaving songs, that is - how we can hold on to each other. Just read-sing these waves called pages. Pilipina life-vision, blessings, embraces waiting. I bow to Arlene Biala for this opening into the deep of our humanity." - Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States 2015-2017
"By turns tender and fierce, the poems in this collection wend their way through memory and loss, through the push and pull of family, the dangers of silence, the weight of grief and trauma. Biala takes her readers to task, calling on us to rise and rise again, reminding us of our resilience and the responsibility we have not only to ourselves, but to each other. In this language, in these images, we recognize the experiences that bind us. 'We are all saying the same thing,' she writes. And so we are." - Veronica Montes
"If the poem is water, Arlene Biala summons forth islands of emotional fluency from the depths of our human experience. Whether in ekphrastic response to the likes of Guillermo Galindo and Dolores Huerta or as witness to the pressing social justice issues of our time, Biala's lyrics move with a quietly deceptive power that demands we look beyond." - Lehua M. Taitano