Javier Zamora and Cynthia Linville

Javier Zamora and Cynthia Linville
Monday July 7, 2014 at 7:30 PM
1719 25th Street
Host: Wendy Williams


Javier Zamora was born in La Herradura, El Salvador. At the age of nine he migrated to the United States. He is the 2014-15 Olive B. O’Connor fellow at Colgate University, a CantoMundo fellow, and a Breadloaf scholarship recipient. His work won the 2011 Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Contest and the 2014 Meridian Editor’s Prize. Zamora’s poems appear or are forthcoming in Best New Poets 2013, Four Way Review, Narrative, Ninth Letter, Ploughshares, and elsewhere.

Put This Book Down

Cariño, you’ve never lived my war—
a glass of fresh water in the ocean.
Everything is mine
on loan: the leaves I’ve combed out of my hands.
I want to mold what I cannot return to,
let me say
palm, coconuts on palms, water. Let me say
I know how to unsheathe husks to shut my thirst.
Know that I can’t find the boy I threw rocks at fruit bats with
or the cigarettes we lit
for their snouts to smoke. Let me say
my poverty is a possum
skinned at the foot of fourteen families,
it’s a coastal barrio
where hooves carve cobblestones,
where lieutenants order shots with shotguns,
and since then floors splattered with sorghum,
fingers and ears since then,
and since then
hurricanes. And yes,
this is all I remember
and this is what my memory says:

I know what it is to be
a bucket
of mosquitoes no one listens to

Cariño, I’ve lost count
of the crosses I’ve painted
while whispering my name.
I’ve lost count of the days
I haven’t been my motherland.


Cynthia Linville has lived in London, New York, San Francisco, and outside of Washington DC but returned to live in her hometown of Sacramento where she has taught in the English Department at California State University, Sacramento since 2000. A music aficionado with a theater background, she is usually out and about supporting the arts in Sacramento and in the San Francisco Bay Area. Linville’s work has appeared in many publications and several anthologies. Her two books of collected poems, The Lost Thing (2012) and the just-released Out of Reach (2014), are available from Cold River Press. Her poem “I am Fortune’s Ungraceful Daughter” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2012. She is the July featured artist on Sacramento365: http://www.sacramento365.com/page/July2014_Artist

Cynthia is active in the Sacramento poetry scene, hosting readings, and reading with the group Poetica Erotica as well as on her own. She served as Poetry Editor of Poetry Now from 2008-2010 and has served as Managing Editor of Convergence: an online journal of poetry and art (www.convergence-journal.com) since 2008. She invented a form, the Linvillanelle, which is profiled here: http://sacpoetrynow.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/local-poetic-forms-and-a-contest/. Cynthia has been writing since she could write. In first grade, she won first place for her short story about a girl whose wish that chocolate pudding would flow out of all the faucets is granted – and who then has to save the town from the disaster that ensues. At 15, one of her poems was published in a national teen magazine, and she began studying poetry with Dennis Schmitz at age 18.

—Cynthia Linville

What are the years
but drops of water on the palm
five—just a handful
ten—a small mouthful
that is gone
the throat already parched
before she says
I’m leaving.

(published on Medusa’s Kitchen)

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