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ISBN: 978-1-73639-634-6
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Categories Chapbooks, Nomadic, Poetry

Ituzaingó: Exiles and Reveries / exilios y ensueños

Publication Date: February 2021


In June of 2023, Black Lawrence Press welcomed numerous existing and forthcoming Nomadic Press titles to our catalogue. Ituzaingó: Exiles and Reveries was originally published by Nomadic.

In Ituzaingó: Exiles and Reveries / exilios y ensueños, 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.


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 the poetry collections, Year of the Dog and This Side of Skin

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 naïve 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.
Ruth Irupé Sanabria, author of The Strange House Testifies

In Florencia Milito’s brilliant debut we understand what it means to be exiled, “algo, pero no todo, sepierde.” She weaves memory and hardship in both English and Spanish, showing us “the aftermath ofruins,” but we also get to rejoice in the playful use of language found in every page in phrases like “estoesto 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. Ituzaingóis a collection of poems that are quietly urgent, vibrant, and aware.
MK Chavez, author of Dear Animal, winner of the 2017 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award

About the Author

© Matthew Bohm

Florencia Milito

Florencia Milito is a bilingual poet whose work has appeared in ZYZZYVA, Indiana Review, Catamaran, Diálogo, 92nd Street Y, Quiet Lightning, Ninth Letter, Latinas: Struggles & Protests in 21st Century USA, Zócalo Public Square, GUEST, and This Wandering State: Poems from Alta, among others. A Hedgebrook and Community of Writers alumna and San Francisco Writers Grotto and CantoMundo fellow, her writing has been influenced by her early experience fleeing the U.S.-supported 1976 coup in Argentina, subsequent childhood in Venezuela, and immigration to the United States at the age of nine. In 2011, she was a reader at the Festival Internacional de Poesía de Rosario. In 2020, she read virtually at the 8th Winter Warmer Poetry Festival in Cork, Ireland. Her bilingual poem Song of Transformation was featured in the UC Berkeley Arts Research Center's Fall 2021 Flash Reading Series. Her bilingual collection Ituzaingó: Exiles and Reveries / exilios y ensueños, based on an earlier manuscript named a Gold Line Press Poetry Chapbook Competition finalist in 2018, was published in 2021 by Nomadic Press and reviewed by Urayoán Noel in 'La Treintena' 2021: 30+ Books & Chapbooks of Latinx Poetry. Her chapbook Sor Juana, published by Gunpowder Press in 2023, won the Alta California Chapbook Prize and was included in Urayoán Noel’s ‘La Treintena’ 2023: 30 (Something) Books of Latinx Poetry. Florencia is also a translator, creative writing and composition educator, and mother. Having lived in far too many places, including her beloved New York, she lived longest in the Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco, the city where her two daughters were born. In 2022, her family relocated to Davis, California. Strongly connected to the Bay Area, she misses the ocean and city, and seeks refuge in trees, especially a golden ginkgo (árbol de la memoria).

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