They Say that I Am Two
by Marcos McPeek Villatoro
Publication Date: 1997
Bind: Trade Paperback
From 1985 to 1996, Marcos McPeek Villatoro lived in various Latino worlds, both in the United States and in Central America. A richly hued-tapestry of his life and the lives of the people around him during that decade emerges in They Say that I Am Two. Villatoro writes about witnessing friends disappear in raids by immigration agents and making love in a Guatemalan jungle where death squads wait silently outside the door. As a man of two distinct ethnic backgrounds, his poetry invites us to explore the deeper, sometimes disturbing questions regarding race and culture. His verse, both in English and Spanish, draws us into the personal and the political, from the vision of a beautiful, young Nicaraguan woman guarding the Honduran border during wartime to the raucous, heretical reflections upon organized religion. Poignant, comic and planted deep in the rich soil of many languages and voices, They Say that I Am Two introduces the unique and singular voice of a man whose poetry resists the entrapment of borders.
“If you hunger for poetry that itself hungers, that kisses the earth and counts the bones, rejoice. Marcos McPeek Villatoro writes it. Here is the power of life freshly clarified by the imagination. Above all, here is the ision and compassion of a poet with something to say and the language in which to say it. It ransoms our soul.”––Marvin Bell
“He confronts everything he sees directly and produces poetry that is hard-edged yet humane, beautiful but wrenching. This is a thoroughly admirable book.”—Robert Phillips
MARCOS MCPEEK VILLATORO is an award-winning writer whose books have gained critical praise. His novel, A Fire in the Earth (Arte Público Press) and his memoir, Walking to La Milpa: Living in Guatemala with Armies, Demons, Abrazos and Death (Moyer Bell) were both published in 1996. He, his wife and four children live in Iowa where Villatoro attends the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa.