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The Bilingual Review Press is pleased to announce the release of one of its most powerful collections of poetry yet, The Art of Exile. Poet William Archila takes the reader on a poignant journey from war-ravaged El Salvador to the concrete and asphalt of Los Angeles, revealing the turmoil Central American emigrants face when they leave their homeland and seek refuge in a foreign country.


 
The voice in these poems is authentic. Like 25 percent of the country's population at the time, William Archila and his family fled the violence and upheaval of El Salvador in the 1980s. He was only 12 years old. And, like many other Salvadorans, the family came to the United States. Although years passed, Archila remained haunted by the bloody civil war and the loss of home and identity. He yearned to return to the country he once knew and loved, but when that day finally arrived, he discovered that El Salvador had changed and that he could no longer truly call it home.


 
In The Art of Exile, Archila's first book, the poet's grief is unapologetically set before us in clear yet lyrical terms. Giving voice to the disempowered, the impoverished, and the displaced, he forces the reader to acknowledge the brutality of war and the struggle of the disenfranchised. The sense of loss is palpable, but so are tenderness, humor, and love. Ultimately, this collection welcomes any refugee who seeks understanding, comfort, healing, and home.


 
"From the worst of humanity's destructiveness, Archila creates the best our civilization has to give—humane sentiment, forgiveness, love, and poetry. The Art of Exile is a marvelous contribution to the Art of Peace."
— Garrett Hongo, Pulitzer Prize finalist


 
". . . William Archila is the reigning master of some breathtaking imagery that encompasses a practiced, lyrical certainty. There's a deep singing at the center of Archila's world, a calling to everything that says home is where the heart is."— Yusef Komunyakaa, Pulitzer Prize winner


 
"[Archila's] voice is not only an important addition to the chorus of Lantino/a poetry, but a necessary one in the vast landscape of belles lettres in the United States. To say he sings like an angel is an understatement. He is possessed of brilliance and what Lorca called 'duende.' The Art of Exile joins the ranks of the best poetry published this year."— Virgil Suárez, author of 90 Miles: Selected and New (2005)


 
William Archila is an English teacher who earned an MFA in poetry from the University of Oregon. His poems have appeared in The Georgia Review, AGNl, Poetry International, The Los Angeles Review, North American Review, Obsidian III, Notre Dame Review, Puerto del Sol, Rattle and Blue Mesa Review, among others. The Art of Exile is his first book.


Sunday, August 16, 2009 from 2-4 pm