To The Bone by Angela Narciso Torres

Exploring themes of growth, autonomy, life, and death, To the Bone‘s pulsing rhythm splashes images on the page in a manner reminiscent of Cézanne.

This is a book about motherhood, daughterhood, and personhood. Drawing on Torres’ background of growing up in the Philippines and immigrating to the United States, these impressionistic poems are moments captured in medias res, in the middle of the narrative, or shortly thereafter.

A fork dropped, the air in the room after a door closes, a square of sun—these celebrations of the quotidian, these portraits of simple beauty, imbue readers with a sense of ominous calm. The quiet after the storm. One moment of contemplation after a cataclysm. These are poems to think about.

“The poems in To the Bone are a gift, each one like a note in a musical score where superstition is prelude and memory is encore. ‘What happens is neither the end nor the beginning. Yet we’re wired to look for signs.’ Torres weaves in and out of time deftly, piecing together the narrative of a mother battling Alzheimer’s and a daughter writing and revising her many selves, drawing on the lyricisms of the natural world. Light passes through these poems as it does through the veins in a leaf. These poems are a kundiman to motherhood, daughterhood, and what comes after.”
-Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, author of Hour of the Ox