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ISBN: 978-1-955239-42-4
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Categories Chapbooks, Nomadic, Poetry

Space Junk from the Heavenly Palace

Publication Date: February 2023


In June of 2023, Black Lawrence Press welcomed numerous existing and forthcoming Nomadic Press titles to our catalogue. Space Junk from the Heavenly Palace was originally published by Nomadic.

As a chunk of the Chinese Space Station, Tiāngōng or 天宫一号 or Heavenly Palace, hurls itself into the Monterey Bay, the main character finds themselves enmeshed in the same colorful, chaotic crashing through spheres of space or voids of phones or the dark empty of love and the self.


Like the crash that sets off this book, Space Junk from the Heavenly Palace is equal parts mysterious, fiery, and chaotic. From the outermost coastlines of the deep cosmos, to the purple undersides of a dead crab, these poems traverse the borders of race, class, gender, and sexuality to fiercely interrogate a life at the edges. You will laugh, scream, rage. Escamilla has written a book for the comrades and the comadres, for anyone whose ever had to get lost to find themselves.
Edgar Gomez author of High-Risk Homosexual

‘I can’t tell the difference / between the sky / and / the rows of plastic over dirt in Salinas. / it’s that you are just far enough away to be something like a planet.’ These poems transport us into interior and exterior worlds. When I read the poems in Space Junk from the Heavenly Palace, I find they are portals to several worlds across personal, familial, and cultural histories and mythologies. There are also root systems that build on these strata. Escamilla’s imagination gallantly and graciously includes earth and all of its burdens and beauty. This collection is all of the voices not abandoned despite the shadows of suns in any world, and they are gathered here to talk back, and for us to revive and orbit.
Janice Lobo Sapigao, author of Microchips for Millions

Rachelle Escamilla’s poems pull us away from the shallows and hurl us into the deep-sea canyon where ancestors breathe and beckon to us to feed. ‘I rest in shade / grow gills for the afterlife / type my body to words’ is a taste of the lyrical prowess flowing through this poet and her new work. Trust, you want this book!
Arlene Biala, Former Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County

This book beheads bullshit & holds the head up to the crowd with a roar, less as an embattled offering and more an exhibit A-Z of life in occupied territory —occupied not just by colonizers, but also gods, space junk, laundry, love, & amp; toilet paper. Rachelle Linda Escamilla’s poems aren’t just revolutionary/revolutions, they are formal investigations, lyric experiments, and wrenching excavations of the choked histories just under every so-called ‘american’ surface.
R/B Mertz, author of Burning Butch

Between the heavenly space and the blissfulness of the earth, this poetry will guide you to the depths of your soul. Another masterful collection of poems by one of the most exciting Latinx poets of the twentieth first century.
Juan Velasco-Moreno, editor of In Xochitl In Cuicatl

Love connects us to what is larger than us and to what is larger within us than we thought we could hold. The speaker in Rachelle Escamilla’s Space Junk from the Heavenly Palace follows that connection where it leads them—emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, politically, erotically—and finds that, in the end, it’s all one journey. Unique to each of us. Common to all of Us.
Richard Jeffrey Newman, author of The Silence Of Men

About the Author

Rachelle Escamilla

Rachelle Escamilla is a Chicana poet from the Central Coast of California. She is the author of three books of poetry: Imaginary Animal (Willow Books, 2015, 2022) and Me Drawing a Picture of Me[n] (Willow Books, 2019) and Space Junk from the Heavenly Palace (Nomadic Press 2023).  Rachelle is the founder of a number of organizations and literary programs including: The Poets and Writers Coalition and Legacy of Poetry Day at San Jose State University; The English-language Center for Creative Writing at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China; Literature of the Margins at the United States Consulate of Guangzhou, China and the Latinx Poetix Symposium at California State University Monterey Bay.

From 2015-2020 She was the producer and host of the longest running poetry radio show in the US, Out of Our Minds on KKUP Cupertino 91.5 FM. In 2018 she was a visiting scholar at the Library of Congress, Hispanic Division where she conducted research around her grandfather’s 1969 testimony for the fair treatment of migrant laborers in California. While at the Library of Congress, Ms. Escamilla recorded her poems for the Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape: Palabra and published an article, Searching for my Family with the Library of Congress. Rachelle’s award-winning first collection of poems, Imaginary Animal is slated to become an off-Broadway play with director Katherine Wilkinson and scheduled to show (hiatus due to Covid) at Access Theater in New York. Rachelle teaches Contemporary Chicana Poetry, Multicultural Poetry, Latinx Creative Writing, and Creative Writing in Monterey.  She also manages Social Media and Marketing for Philip Glass Days and Nights Festival and works as a model and actress. You can find the archive for her radio show and any upcoming podcasts at her SoundCloud at https://m.soundcloud.com/rachelle-escamilla

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