Exiles and Reveries
Now available from Small Press Distribution
In Ituzaingó: Exiles and Reveries, Florencia Milito intimately explores the legacy of state terror associated with the U.S.-supported 1976 military dictatorship in Argentina. Taking its title from the street where the author’s family house was burned down by the paramilitary, this collection examines the effects of political flight and exile, finding in language a source of resistance, an opening, an agnostic's blue door.
Ituzaingó: Exiles and Reveries
The poems in Ituzaingó are saturated with "the dark blue / wreckage of exile," an exile haunted by the violence of authoritarian power and, above all, by the ever present silhouettes of the disappeared. In Florencia Milto's painterly lyrics, "each of someone's someone" is rendered in a vibrant palate evoking both survival and irretrievable loss: the "blood orange" on the kitchen table and the "blood stains / on scented magnolias / that preceded the bees." Here the shades of anguish and reverie that mark exilic experience are brought to life through bold strokes—the deep purple of raspados—and through delicately rendered lines—"deep green, close to black / but not black at all / like coagulated blood." Each poem here is a radiant affirmation of lineage and each is, as well, shadowed by lost bloodlines. The heartrending result: "each an elegant rebuttal…playing an eternal green waltz."
Deborah Paredez, author of Year of the Dog and This Side of Skin
In Florencia Milito’s brilliant debut we understand what it means to be exiled, “algo, pero no todo, se pierde.” She weaves memory and hardship in both English and Spanish, showing us “the aftermath of ruins,” but we also get to rejoice in the playful use of language found in every page in phrases like “esto esto es / esto es donde.”
Javier Zamora, author of Unaccompanied
Florencia Milito's poems are dense with history, secrets, the imaginable and the unimaginable, escapes, and the inevitable returns to memories, some full of sorrow, all full of love and longing. Ituzaingó is a collection of poems that are quietly urgent, vibrant, and aware.
MK Chavez, author of Mothermorphosis and Dear Animal, winner of the 2017 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award
Here are songs of memory, where children witness defeat and prophecy; where lullabies, odes, and villanelles are wide awake in the deep dream of the exiled daughter whose poems sing love and loss born of resistance movements and exile. In Ituzaingó there is a tenderness, a sweetness recovered and sung up. But not a naive sweetness—a rebellious sweetness that names “grape ices...bought from the math teacher at recess,” because it must recover tenderness, not as a chore but as a revolutionary act of love. These poems know the horrors of the fascist, his gasoline, and his match. And so here is a quilt: bold and honest in its attention to trauma and horror and meditative in its attention to joy and vulnerability. Evoking poets, painters, intellectuals, and working people, Milito’s poems know that poetry and promises will not stop fascists from returning, but the owl’s “yellowed irises looking down at a dark blue wreckage” and the haunting awareness that “those blue birds of Sor Juana’s/and the scabs of war/ are home perhaps,” just might save us.