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ISBN: 978-1-955239-16-5
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Categories Chapbooks, Nomadic, Poetry

Hell/a Mexican

Publication Date: February 2022


In June of 2023, Black Lawrence Press welcomed numerous existing and forthcoming Nomadic Press titles to our catalogue. Hell/a Mexican was originally published by Nomadic.

Hell/a Mexican is an appreciation of the tragicomedy that is existing on American soil with foreign roots. These stories shed light on the boundless experience of living and learning through your identity. This collection, much like us, reaches for hope; Sometimes we find it, sometimes we don’t. 


In his debut collection, Kevin Madrigal asks the real shit: What are the barriers and limitations—but also bridges—of language? How do we break and remake cultural and emotional borders? What happens when we “indulge at the altar of brown labor”? Say gracias, this young poet tells us. Put extra sazon in our memorias, the blooming voice reminds. And do it like our hella Mexican cousins or abuelitas would, because they deserve to be honored, always. These are the recipes, flavors, and aromas of our culture, stuffed into poemas with Bay Area soul. This is a “rememberimagin[ing]” of ourselves, a resistance against erasure. It’s an arrival, and departure, from what we think we know about our Americanized Latinx roots, and all our tangled vibrancy. After reading this, you, too, will know the beautifully imperfect reality we pochos proudly occupy between “Cielo Mexicano” and “Mexican Hell.
Alan Chazaro, author of Piñata Theory and This Is Not a Frank Ocean Cover Album

Kevin… damn. Hell/a Mexican is the antidote. I haven’t worked out what the poison is, but this is the authentic anti-venom. I’m not just talking about the healing poem Sana, sana, colita de rana but all of the poems, all of the spaces between the words, all of the side eye, all of the embrace. Madrigal’s writing is something you need.
K Shuck, 7th Poet Laureate of San Francisco Emerita, author of Murdered Missing

Hell/a Mexican is the liminal space between what Kevin Madrigal Galindo calls “Mexican Heaven” and “Mexican Hell,” equal parts Zapopan and South City, aguas frescas and rock-hard avocado, “fermented agave & missing names + obituary.” The author, a decolonizer and powerful voice at the intersection of contemporary Latino poetry and possibilities, is careful not to refine what or who is often overlooked: both worker and shitty job, and “what holds all together.” Ultimately, Madrigal’s debut poetry chapbook is an ode to the Mexican diaspora in America’s back kitchens, “a gentle net for extra syrup & fallen stars” and to “recipes [that] were never meant to be static.”
Aileen Cassinetto, Poet Laureate of San Mateo County

In Hell/a Mexican, Kevin Madrigal revels in the pleasures and contradictions of the Mexico-US borderlands. Part critique of a raced/gendered division of labor and part celebration of ancestral (food) knowledge, this collection is a recipe for decolonial love.
Luz Calvo, Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies at CSUEB, author of Decolonize Your Diet

The Spanglish language continues its chingon Norte American trajectory in the paginas of Hell/a Mexican. Kevin’s Pocho poesia frees our ni de aqui ni de alla tongues and allows us to speak without being “othered” without being italicized without being mistranslated or misunderstood. Familiar and comforting like your Abuelitas laughter y sharper than a bilingual filero at an all white poetry reading Hell/a Mexican is pura neta.

!HIJOLE! man there is deep medicina and comfort in these poems…Familia, comida, memoria and,most of all amore…Hell/a Mexican elevates and evolves us Chicano dinosaurs y Latinx testube babies while still honoring our traditions y ante pasados.

Josiah Luis Alderete , author of Baby Axolotls and Old Pochos

Kevin Madrigal Galindo is another kind of Word Weaver. He’s also a magician in the kitchen. A shape shifting poet, dedicated to feeding la gente with soul saving nourishment. He heals us, sometimes with a smile or with heavy doses of secret lyrical spices. Kevin is a serious practitioner of curanderismo poetica serving up literary masterpieces guaranteed to decolonize our appetites & our souls
Kevin’s book is a multi-cultural roadmap, a metaphoric recipe for inspiration & change. And he’s inviting you to the table… bring a friend!!!

Avotcja, Writer, Musician & Friend

About the Author

© Syd Yatco

Kevin Madrigal Galindo

Kevin Madrigal Galindo is a first generation hijo de su chingada madre from South San Francisco by way of Zapopan, Jalisco. He is currently reimagining the world with abuelita wisdom, and trying to channel rage into change. You can find Kevin’s work in The Boiler, Bozalta, KQED, and also inscribed on tree stumps and bridge overpasses around the SF Bay Area. His first chapbook, Hell/a Mexican is out now.

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