“Alvarez’s language is sure-footed, precise and unflinching in her descriptions of domestic life. Many of the poems, such as her sonnet crown gem, “Mother,” examine women’s societal roles. In the scathing poem, “Papi,” an homage to Plath’s “Daddy,” Alvarez takes on the establishment in the person of Cuba’s Castro. In a masterpiece that records the poverty and despair of modern life, “Hialeah,” Alvarez describes the road into the city this way, “All day long the traffic groans / like a birthing woman.”
--Lana Hechtman Ayers, author of Love is a Weed,
editor of the Concrete Wolf Chapbook Series.
Note: Spire Press is now closed and Shapeshifting is out of print. If you would like to purchase a copy from me, contact me at email@example.com.
“Writing with candor and conviction, and showing a fine eye for the telling detail, Celia Lisset Alvarez takes the reader on a fascinating, sometimes wrenching, trip through family, history, relationships and comic books. A strong, promising debut by a gifted young poet.” – Gustavo Pérez Firmat, David Feinson Professor of Humanities at Columbia University and author of The Cuban Condition, Next Year in Cuba, and Scar Tissue.
“In The Stones, Celia Lisset Alvarez writes with the unique voice of a Cuban-American woman, weaving this group of poems from a mother’s pregnancy, through coming-of-age poems, to old men at a race track, mingling the imagery, sounds, tastes and smells of South Florida and the Caribbean. By the end of the book, I could hear the pounding hooves at Hialeah, and had the aftertaste of conch fritters and beer in my mouth. Here is a strong collection of poetry to savor.” – Jonathan K. Rice, editor Iodine Poetry Journal and author of Ukulele and Other Poems.
“Alvarez breaks open the rituals of living to reveal histories personal and unrenowned; every poem tenders the untasted pith of seed and stone—our most unfamiliar and truest selves.” – DeAnna Stephens Vaughn, editor Tar Wolf Review
Here are also some links to anthologies in which my work has appeared:
Ed. Whitney Scott
Featuring the poem “My Father Leaves Cuba”
Featuring poetry, short fiction, and essays, Outrider Press’ annual Black and White anthology series returns with a focus on the theme of home. The concept of home often connects to experiences that characters would prefer to forget but find themselves forced to reconcile. “The Hoodie’s Tale” unfolds into a haunting narrative about a kidnapped daughter and her mother’s torment. “Executive Order 9066” (Outrider’s grand-prize winner for prose) follows a woman recovering her family’s long-stored belongings stockpiled before they were designated to a Japanese internment camp. In other works, home offers little haven. “Seeking Shelter” follows a narrator who flees her home life, and with it a crumbling relationship, for a bike trip, falling into a one-off affair with a fellow rider. Pieces also explore home’s impermanence, as a harrowed mother struggles to adjust to her new neighborhood as well as an unexpected pregnancy. Elsewhere, a narrator exposes the distressing realities of memory loss, and a couple’s dream home presents unforeseen challenges. Scott has created an accessible collection that examines diverse aspects of the dynamics and hold of home.— Leah Strauss
How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens
Ed. Joanne Merriam
Featuring the poem “Malibu Barbie Moves to Mars”Suffice it to say, the stories and poems in this collection are, for the most part, exceptional at addressing a related theme and in exploring the social effects of immigration and alienation. Collected together, they make for a memorable themed anthology.
—Shaun Duke, How to Live on Other Planets edited by Joanne Merriam, Strange Horizons, 27 April 2015
This collection explores the immigrant experience in a science fiction setting, with exciting fiction and poetry from some of the genre’s best writers (including DARK MATTER faves Lisa Bolekaja, Nisi Shawl and Daniel José Older to name just a few). DARK MATTERS was wildly enthused…—Dark Matters Talks To Joanne Merriam About “How to Live on Other Planets”, Dark Matters, 27 April 2015
Obsession: Sestinas for the 21st Century
Ed. Marilyn Krysl and Carolyn Beard Whitlow
Featuring the poem "Lizards"
“The stamp of a great anthology is the joie de vivre of its editors—and Whitlow and Krysl mark this marvel of a collection with an irreverent sense of fun. From sex to art to politics, the pure zest of these sestinas makes you know they’ll survive like the sonnet, each age appropriating the form for a new existence. And new existences are here, from the stately to the slapdash repetitions of our lives, each poem built on six golden words.” —Molly Peacock, author of Cornucopia and The Second Blush
Drawn to Marvel: Poems from the Comic Books
Ed. Bryan Dietrich and Marta Ferguson
Featuring the poems "Wonder Woman Goes through Menopause" and "Superman Confronts Me about Dinner"
Drawn to Marvel: Poems From the Comic Books is the first-ever anthology of poetry about superheroes and comics. With over 100 contributors, and over 200 individual poems, this collection spans five decades of poetry exploring popular culture. Legendary contributors, alongside emerging voices, blast off the page to imagine and re-imagine favorite heroes and villains. From their love lives to their greatest regrets, iconic characters are given fresh perspective and joined by some extraordinary underdogs. Poems tackle issues of identity, from race to sexuality to nationality to dis/ability. Won't you join the fight? from Albert Goldbarth's foreword: "[Superheroes are] everywhere, these days, as if their presence could make them more actual....The poets here understand the ancestry and the collateral branches of current superherodom."
A Collection of Contemporary Love Poems
Ed. Christine Redman-Waldeyer and David Crews
Featuring the poems "Bodies and Words" and "Naked"
The 2011-2012 issue of Adanna (Love Poetry Contest) includes 50 selections from the winners and finalists presented in a print anthology, and an essay by David Crews.
Eating Her Wedding Dress: A Collection of Clothing Poems
Ed. Ellen Foos, Vasiliki Katsarou, and Ruth O'Toole
Featuring my Pushcart-nominated poem, "1969"
"The varied takes on clothing in Eating Her Wedding Dress will send many readers scurrying to their own closets to discover what material, for poetry and for life, lies buried there. The truths told in this volume surely will enrich the search."—Jane Dobija of CutBank Reviews
"Eating Her Wedding Dress is cleverly divided into four parts—or fitting rooms—where we look at who we are, or wish we could be without the glare of nasty lighting."—the Editors at Literary Bohemian
Not a Muse
Ed. Kate Rogers and Viki Holmes
Featuring the poems "Seduction" and "Poetry Reading"
A bold, richly panoramic anthology of poetry from all over the world, exploring the inner lives of women in a post-feminist era. 516 pages of poetic delight by voices both celebrated and newly uncovered. Poetry to Seduce the Senses: Not A Muse was launched on the opening night of the Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival, on International Women's Day, 8 March 2009.
Letters to the World
Ed. Moira Richards, Rosemary Starace, and Lesley Wheeler
Featuring the poem "What It Takes to Be Lois Lane"
An anthology of poems from members of the Women's Poetry Listserv, with an introduction by D'Arcy Randall and a preface by Annie Finch. This one-of-a-kind international collection of 258 poets was shaped by consensus-based feminist collaboration over the internet.White Ink: Poems on Mothers and Motherhood
Ed. Rishma Dunlop
Featuring the poem "Don't"
Poets include Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Alicia Suskin Ostriker,
Joy Harjo, Sharon Olds, Gwendolyn Brooks, Gwendolyn MacEwen,
Patrick Lane, Lorna Crozier, Allen Ginsberg, Irving Layton,
Priscila Uppal, Sandra Gilbert, Grace Paley, Samuel Menashe,
Marilyn Hacker, Steven Heighton, C.D. Wright, Cherrie Moraga,
Natasha Trethewey, Rita Dove, Adrienne Rich, Minnie Bruce Pratt,
Nicole Brossard, Marie Ponsot, Mahmoud Darwish, Naomi Shihab
Nye, Fady Joudah, Daphne Marlatt, Molly Peacock, and more.
Ed. Raúl Fernández-Calienes and Judith Barr Bachay
Featuring the short story "Isis"
“Women Moving Forward: Narratives of Identity, Migration, Resilience, and Hope is an excellent example of ethnographic inquiry, revealing the normative behavior of women within specific cultural boundaries, while also illuminating the individual transcendence of norms in the quest for self-realization. The stories in Women Moving Forward are each unique in their depiction of culture and mores and allow the reader to catch a glimpse of the lives of women in various parts of the globe. Despite their variety, however, the stories are united in their core as they each validate the very human need to hope for a future that is fulfilling and, at least to some extent, self-constructed rather than imposed...this book cannot be missed.” —Associate Professor Beatriz González Robinson, Ph.D., LMHC Vice President for University Planning and Chief of Staff, St. Thomas University State Coordinator, Office of Women in Higher Education, Fellow, American Council on Education