By Stalina Emmanuelle Villarreal
A multidimensional exploration of art, identity, and consciousness, unveiling the experience of Latinx, Afro-Latinx, and Indigenous art through poetry and visual expression.
Publication Date: May 28th, 2024
Paperback ISBN: 9781646053070
eBook ISBN: 9781646053223
Through free verse, personal photographs, and prosaic gestures, Watcha by Stalina Emmanuelle Villarreal serves as a watching manifesto that unfolds, layering genres and media.
The reader becomes a spectator of a gallery that curates Latinx, Afro-Latinx, and Indigenous art through ekphrastic poetry. On occasion, the viewer sees theoretical or anecdotal prose contextualizing art observation through introspection. With the codeswitching between English and Spanish as well as with the political implications of the artwork and personal history, the book’s trajectory charts a vast terrain that ranges from an artistic standpoint, to border crossing, to belonging, to portraiture, to self-portraiture, to abstraction, to death, to a call for action. Watcha invites inquiry, a space for sight, memory, and consciousness.
Stalina Emmanuelle Villarreal (she/they) sees, hears, feels, and communicates across mediums and cultures. She’s a deep-watching ekphrastic poet, a photographic flash essayist, a broad-stroke sketch artist, a sonic improv performer, a sound-sensitive literary translator, and an assistant professor of English. Their bilingualism stems from her 1.5-generation experience being both Mexican and Xicanx. Their poetry can be found in the Rio Grande Review, Texas Review, The Acentos Review, Defunkt Magazine, and elsewhere. Their published translations of poetry include Enigmas by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Photograms of My Conceptual Heart Absolutely Blind by Minerva Reynosa, Kilimanjaro by Maricela Guerrero, and Postcards in Braille by Sergio Pérez Torres.
Stalina is the recipient of the Inprint Donald Barthelme Prize in Poetry. Her visual poetry—spanning queer erotica, interactive digital art, and video installation—was part of the Antena@Blaffer exhibit at University of Houston’s Blaffer Art Museum. She is currently writing ekphrastic elegies about her interpretative drawings of portraits and a memoir about her photographs of nature—revealing her ability to look backward and within, to write new ways forward.