With the River on Our Face
University of Arizona Press, Fall 2016
"In divided times, Emmy Pérez's voice speaks not only from America, but from the Americas, north and south. A wise, healing poetry."
"Emmy Pérez is a word musician and magician. This book has a powerful pull."
–Luis Alberto Urrea
"Emmy Pérez’s singular voice is voluminous in scope. Some of her best poems are as incantatory as the Rio Grande is long and leave us breathless in a very marvelous and satisfying way. The poet’s magical language shields us through checkpoints in an enclave of earth to which many of us have been woefully underexposed. These beautifully rendered poems speak to all of us who have an interest in life, liberty, land, and love."
–Reggie Scott Young
"More than anything else, this collection is about documenting a place that most of white America only thinks about in terms of politics. It’s about describing the faces, the stones, the barrios, the lizards, the scrub plants, and, always, the river... This quiet insistence refuses to let this land and these people be ignored. While much of America might want to pretend it doesn’t exist, to build a literal wall on the border and a figurative wall around anyone perceived as different, Pérez will not allow it that dishonesty. This place of her home is real, and it contains both beauty and misery."
-David Nilsen, Fourth and Sycamore, Jan. 24, 2017
Link to book review
"This book is a love song to those who live in the region and to the life-giving river that helps to sustain them, no matter which side they live on--people who are represented in the title as having a single collective face. The beauty of the volume is in the poems' transformation of a place that in many of our minds is a culturally desolate and barren battleground into one that is nourished by nature's idyllic magic and the transcendent possibilities generated from human compasssion found in the lives of those who are forced to live in circumstances that are anything but humane."
–Reggie Scott Young, "Year's Best Reads 2016" Sacred Trespasses, Dec. 9, 2016
"In her spiritual vision, the borderlands are also inhabited by positive powers: curanderas... and the rich literary legacy that celebrates the shared land and struggles of Mexicans, Native Americans and Texans alike. Above all she praises the role of the poets, those 'little gods' who can 'build poems faster than the wall's construction.' Though they don't overlook the violence of the border, these poems blaze with the desert's dazzling beauty." -Rigoberto González, "Amid Uncertain Times, 11 New and Necessary Latino Books to Read," NBC News Latino, Nov. 30, 2016
"... Pérez is a gifted writer for everyone to watch."
-Barbara Hoffert, "Top Fall Poetry: Great Reading Beyond the Basics from Veterans and Newcomers Alike," Library Journal, Oct. 17, 2016
"With the River on Our Face is a book that unites... By connecting humanity to the river and its life, Pérez creates a vision of peace and tranquility that leaves one feeling hopeful."
-Minerva Laveaga Luna, El Paso Times, Oct. 8, 2016
Link to book review
"Pérez's writing is floating on the river and the river is in all of our bodies, imprinted on our very faces." "Macondo Writers Workshop: From San Antonio to the World" by John Pluecker, Arts + Culture Texas, Oct. 6, 2016.
"With the River on Our Face by Emmy Pérez is forcing me to rediscover my native Rio Grande Valley. What I love about this collection is its long, slow unraveling. And how startling hints of violence and pain seep out in the catalog of beautiful things like carrizo, long-billed thrashers, chapulines, and kiowa dancers.” -Rodney Gomez, from "Poetry Magazine Reading List: March 2017."
"Pérez's poetry collection follows the Rio Grande River along the southwest. The physical text flows like the river along the pages as Pérez narrates her homage to the land that makes the borderlands visually stunning while also addressing darker issues that come with its history." "Revolution in Mind: 10 Latinx Books to Read This Summer," Christina Miranda, Latinx Spaces, June 15, 2017.
"Stand-outs for me were the heart-wrenching epic 'Rio Grande~Bravo,' the sudden freedom of 'A woman like a city,' and the beautifully evocative title poem... A tumultuous outpouring that will water the roots of your soul and flood your mind."
–David Bowles, The Monitor, Aug. 26, 2016
Link to book review
"Read These 25 Books for National Poetry Month" by Ruben Quesada, Chicago Review of Books, April 19, 2017.
"Third Annual 2017 Summer Reading List" by READLatinoLit: Las Comadres & Friends National Latino Book Club, June 27, 2017.
"Micro-Review of With the River on Our Face [of the poem 'El Paso~El Valle']." Review by Sheryl Luna, Letras Latinas Blog, March 19, 2017.
"It is not a Drowning" by Rosebud Ben-Oni, Letras Latinas Blog, March 3, 2017.