Erika Garza-Johnson’s debut, Unwoven, is a collection of poetry that refuses to be labeled. It is an anthology that explores the author’s identity and plays with a variety of genres. At times, it is autobiographical, contemporary,a saga, or a narrative. At others, it is an observation, a mystery, a drama, or a reflection. But most of all, it is a collection of love poems.
I have known my comadre, Erika, for almost a decade. We’ve traveled together all over the valley and central Texas for poetry readings and workshops. I’ve heard her voice deliver those punches in her work up close and know the shifting of her borders are obvious with her spoken word. Erika has one of the greatest stage presences I’ve encountered because she does not shy away from the intentions of her poetry.
After reading Unwoven, I can honestly say her words vaporize from the page and into one’s perceptive consciousness. So honest and with the lenguaje that is typical of a South Texas community. The rhythm a pattern of words that make it simple for others to comprehend our Tex-Mex slang.
From writing about ‘Heridas Abiertas’ to ‘Pinche Princesses’, my comadre reveals her love. For her family, her community, her culture, her experiences. Sometimes it is not so obvious. Sometimes, her love is coraje. Sometimes, her love gives you the finger.
In all possible explorations of her work, one cannot mistake how she has unwoven her world to share it with her audience.