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God's Will for Monsters


Winner of the 2016 Hillary Gravendyk Prize and 2018 American Book Award.

In many ways Rachelle Cruz, here, contests, demolishes and remixes the bizarre, early 20th Century colonial and classic ethnographic summations of the Philippines, of its peoples and culture, those "without history" - with her incredible, leaping, elegant, multi-form, cinematic, "forest" of word-magic. The food, the body, the islands, the crossings, the colonial montage, the "Renaissance" in reverse, Imelda Marcos and her gallery of humanless shoes, the mother, the daughter, money order "transactions," and early school days of cultural slippage--as Renato Rosaldo, one of the few anthropologists to dismantle the colonial dis- guring of the Ilongot of Luzon, Northern Philippines, Cruz creates a hurricane masterpiece of anti-ethnographies of scenes, moments and artifacts, of cultural realignments. Who is the monster now? An award winner non-stop, a deeply serious, studied set of investigations, yet, playful, a Tumbler of blurred faces, light, time, space, paint, medicine, plants and plates at the hands of a spiritcaller- writer, word-levitator of the 21st Century. One of a kind.

--Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States