The Hudson Prize Winner


In stock (can be backordered)

ISBN: 978-1-62557-987-4

Saint X

Publication Date: January 2018


Why is the world green?
I had something else in mind.  I planned
a cat with pink fur. A rainbow of pastel smoke.
Shoot anything from the back of a plane
and it will be part spectacle part threat.
Plants I let die last year: the bromeliad,
the succulents. Plants still holding on:
Sade, the desert rose. My new succulents,
Liz and Cal, write letters to each other
but they still need attention from me. A lot
rides on their survival. Mostly my self-worth.
It is hard to be anything’s sun. I try to burn
but just pulse. I spend a lot of time setting.
I say my dears, I’ve spent eons becoming for you.
I need I need a rest. But they reach up
expectantly. They stare, to be honest.
I know, I am no sun. No mother.


The questions Caroline Cabrera asks have answers that are not answers, that are personal and not, intimate and not, shared and not, and all parts of “our real concern.” The voice in Saint X is confident, vulnerable, wounded, doubtful, awed, courageous, and soft and kind and tough and honest and responsible. The voice says that our lives on this planet are ridiculous and remarkable and everything should be considered. Cabrera considers how mattering matters, what it’s like to live as a thinking girl and a wise woman, how the answers are badly needed and impossible, and how “A valley too likes to be held.” Cabrera says so much without saying so much. What’ s difficult here becomes a flower seed, a need, which becomes a necessary bloom.

–Lesle Lewis

In Caroline Cabrera ‘s terrific new Saint X, marked by graphic diamonds, appropriated questions hang quasi-scientifically in what becomes a remarkable, full-length staging of a high-stakes relationship. The results are wry (“Plants are dicks!”) or casual as sleepy bedtime talk (“How much more of this do you have in you?” the poet soon asks her non-stop interlocutor). Most often, though, the replies are signaturely and sweetly akilter (Do I / in bed in the/ dark matter? ) As this beautiful poem is also a self-exam by a hyper-intelligent, truly lyric conscience, X marks the untouched hotspot—needed, as Cabrera confidently demos here, because as the comet-questions shower overhead “To an animal, closeness can mean death/ I mean you, human.”

–Terri Witek

Caroline Cabrera asks the universe’s impossible questions: what is dark matter? Do rogue waves exist? What is Earth’s hum? Answers come in the form of poems, swerving gorgeously between science and satire, play and pathos, dream and desire. Finally, these are poems of the body as the home of fears and pleasures, as the source of so much wonder. “My field / of vision reaches only so / far but I think I see you / coming,” she writes, and I’m there. Converted.

–Julie Carr

Beginning with the question “Do I / in bed in the/ dark matter?” and veering between star matter and flesh, Caroline Cabrera interrogates the surrealism of ontology, revealing insight into how displaced we can be as women and as people learning how we are of the world. In Saint X, Cabrera pulls us in from underwater or out of the heavens, and we are left gulping for air, grateful and unafraid.

–Carmen Gimenez Smith

About the Author

© Philip Muller

Caroline Cabrera

Caroline Cabrera is the author of two previous full length collections of poetry, The Bicycle Year (H-NGM-N Books, 2015) and Flood Bloom (H-NGM-N Books 2013), as well as a chapbook, Dear Sensitive Beard (dancing girl press, 2012). She is chapbook editor of Bloom Books, an imprint of Jellyfish Magazine. She lives in South Florida.

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