Losing Miami by Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué

POETRY
BILINGUAL
ENVIRONMENTAL

ISBN: 978-1-948700-17-7
138 pages
Release Date: February 15, 2019

#RECURRENT / Civil Coping Mechanisms

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start with sinking:

I was raised in a city
that could be swallowed
by the sea within
the next century

start there

Losing Miami is an experiment in grieving the potential loss of Miami to 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.

 

In Losing Miami, Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué 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, author of lo terciario/the tertiary

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.
Douglas Kearney, author of Buck Studies and Patter

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-Sagué 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 Gimenez Smith, author of Cruel Futures

Let the wise, prodigious embrace of these poems get ahold of you. Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué 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.
CAConrad, author of While Standing in Line for Death

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, author of from unincorporated territory [guma’]


GABRIEL OJEDA-SAGUÉ is a gay, Latino Leo raised in Miami, currently living in Chicago. He is the author of the poetry books Jazzercise is a Language ( The Operating System, 2018), on the exercise craze of the 1980s, and Oil and Candle (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2016), on ritual and racism. He is also the author of chapbooks on gay sex, Cher, the Legend of Zelda, and anxious bilingualism. He is currently a PhD candidate in English at the University of Chicago.