WORD Presents Wendy Barnes, Roberto Carlos Garcia & Elisabet Velasquez

04/05/2023 - 7:00pm

FREE Event. Limited Seating.

About the Books

Landscape with Bloodfeud

Scarred by nuclear smokestacks, oil wells, and surging floodwaters, and haunted by the legacies of slavery, racism, and French rule, the Louisiana of Landscape with Bloodfeud is disenchanted but still exerts an undeniable pull. Reckoning with displacement, ancestral guilt, and centuries of human and environmental exploitation, Wendy Barnes dissects the state's turbulent past--as a microcosm of colonial oppression, westward expansion, and the birth of global capitalism. With an expat's detachment, our Louisiana-born speaker contemplates her fraught relationship with her home culture and her white working-class roots, raising questions about complicity and shame, as history "bleeds us all for its tax, some for more, / digging down into every wet wound, / digging down among the taproots, under old folks' / marble tombs or unmarked graves."


What Can I Tell You? 

Charting the personal and the political, the lyrical and the prosaic, with an intense interrogation of anti-Blackness that centers Trans-Atlantic and Latinx Blackness in all its vastness, beauty, and pride, this necessary book compiles the best of Garcia's three poetry collections. These selected poems will introduce Garcia's work to a broader audience. Like the poem it takes its title from, What Can I Tell You conveys a poet wrestling with what it means to make poetry from the bread of life. At times formal and playful, and at others deadly serious, Garcia's full range of themes and obsessions is on full display within its pages.

When We Make It

Sarai is a first-generation Puerto Rican question asker who can see with clarity the truth, pain, and beauty of the world both inside and outside her Bushwick apartment. Together with her older sister, Estrella, she navigates the strain of family traumas and the systemic pressures of toxic masculinity and housing insecurity in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn. Sarai questions the society around her, her Boricua identity, and the life she lives with determination and an open heart, learning to celebrate herself in a way that she has long been denied.

When We Make It is a love letter to anyone who was taught to believe that they would not make it. To those who feel their emotions before they can name them. To those who still may not have all the language but they have their story. Velasquez' debut novel is sure to leave an indelible mark on all who read it.


About the speakers


Elisabet Velasquez is a Boricua writer. Her debut young adult novel When We Make It went on to receive wide recognition including being named as a New York Times Young Adult Books To Watch For. When she is not writing she is living the life she hopes to write about.  You can connect with her at ElisabetVelasquez.Com 

Wendy Barnes’ first full-length book of poems, Landscape with Bloodfeud, was a finalist for the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award and was awarded the Juniper Prize for Poetry from the University of Massachusetts Press (2022). Her poems have appeared in publications like Narrative, storySouth, Painted Bride Quarterly, No, Dear, Spoon River Review, and Slice Magazine. Her art and poetry reviews appear in Frog magazine and on The Adroit Journal blog. She received a 2022 Fellowship in Prose from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She is an associate professor of English at Union College in Elizabeth, NJ, and was recently Visiting Artist-in-Residence at the University of Central Oklahoma. https://wendybarnes.net/

Roberto Carlos Garcia is a 2023 NJ State Council of the Arts Fellow. He is the author of five books, including four poetry collections—Melancolía (Cervena Barva Press, 2016); black / Maybe: An Afro Lyric (Willow Books, 2018); [Elegies] (FlowerSong Press, 2020); and the recently published What Can I Tell You: The Selected Poems of Roberto Carlos Garcia (Flowersong Press, 2022)—and one essay collection, Traveling Freely, forthcoming in 2024 from Northwestern University Press. Roberto is the founder of Get Fresh Books Publishing, a literary nonprofit.



Interested in a signed copy but unable to attend the event?

Use the listing below to purchase a copy and leave us a note in the "Notes" field saying you'd like a signed one! We offer pick-up and shipping options. 


Landscape with Bloodfeud (Juniper Prize for Poetry) By Wendy Barnes Cover Image
ISBN: 9781625346414
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: University of Massachusetts Press - April 29th, 2022


What Can I Tell You? By Roberto Carlos Garcia Cover Image
ISBN: 9781953447647
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City -- click for more details
Published: Flowersong Press - December 2nd, 2022


Staff Pick Badge
When We Make It: A Nuyorican Novel By Elisabet Velasquez Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593324509
Availability: Available from our distributor; usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Books - August 30th, 2022

"The energy. The clarity. The beauty. Elisabet Velasquez brings it all. . . . Her voice is FIRE!"—NYT bestselling and award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson
An unforgettable, torrential, and hopeful debut young adult novel-in-verse that redefines what it means to "make it,” for readers of Nicholasa Mohr and Elizabeth Acevedo.

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