“I am going to the grocery store.” That was the line poet Javier O. Huerta was asked to write during his citizenship interview process. That simple line, years later, would become American Copia: An Immigrant Epic, Huerta’s second collection of poems. Using a vignette form, a play, and even text messages, Huerta weaves together a poetic narrative that breaks the illusion that we live in a land of bountiful substance. Here, a mere trip to the grocery store unveils the political, cultural and economic nuances hidden away between the aisles of our supermarkets.
From the interview:
"Octavio Paz says that prose is like a march whereas poetry is like a dance, but I feel that my most poetic experience was being part of an immigrant rights march down International, a march that feels much like a dance. In contrast to the rally for which there is a line-up of speakers, the march has no central voice; it has a head, by which I mean a direction, by which I mean a purpose; it has a tail, by which I mean a history, by which I mean a legacy; the march seems to be a living organism composed of diverse and immediate rhythms. Anyone in the march can start a chant; you don’t need a megaphone."