In the Company of Spirits

Carmen Calatayud's book In the Company of Spirits was published by Press 53 as part of the Silver Concho Poetry Series. The book was a runner-up for the Walt Whitman Award, given by the Academy of American Poets, and a finalist for the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize.

In the Company of Spirits is available directly from Press 53, independent bookstores such as Pilsen Community Books in Chicago and Please consider supporting your local independent bookseller or order online from Press 53 or Pilsen Community Books and have the book shipped to your door.

The painting on the book cover is by Aydee Lopez Martínez, a Los Angeles-based artist. 

Praise for In the Company of Spirits
"There are two things I especially enjoy about Carmen’s poetry: one is the sort of spiritual/magical essence of her poems, and two is that her poems often feel very important--life and death important." 
~Robert Lee Brewer, Poetic Asides Blog at

“Archangel Michael sticks his finger down my throat/and now I have to tell your story.” writes Carmen Calatayud, in a collection that slips admirably into one of American poetry’s most noble strands—a poetry of testimonio where the poet uses her gift to weave narratives rooted in a plethora of myths, at once familial, social, and political. The gaze in these poems is unflinching and drenched with imagination. In the Company of Spirits will indeed enrich the ever-expanding mosaic of Latino/a poetry."
~Francisco Aragón, director of Letras Latinas at University of Notre Dame; editor of The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry; author of Glow of Our Sweat and Puerta del Sol

“Carmen Calatayud’s courageous poems not only sing, but talk straight from the heart about love and death, the everyday as well as the inexplicable. These poems accomplish that rare feat of weaving a spell from the first to last page that causes everything else to fall away. When she writes “In this corner of the desert, she has already died. I pick up her broken mask, promise to glue it together again.” the reader is swept up on a quest to give voice to those unable to speak. It is this fearless desire to tell the truth that makes the poems in In the Company of Spirits matter.” 
~Devreaux Baker, winner of the PEN Oakland award for Red Willow People

“Whether encompassing the political or the personal, the spiritual or the everyday, Carmen Calatayud writes with a raw and painful frankness, a sense of magical and lyrical wisdom, and a razor’s edge of rage. In the Company of Spirits is a collection to be devoured on the first read, savored on the second, and taken deep into the heart on the third, the fourth, and beyond.”
~Naomi Benaron, winner of the Bellwether Prize for Fiction for Running the Rift

"The poems in In the Company of Spirits journey to the borderlands–between nations, languages, people, the living and dead–sending back essential dispatches on what is found there: war and violence but also richness and beauty, redemption and hope. Carmen Calatayud is our expert guide, leading us to that ultimate geographic border where we wrestle the angels of our lesser selves–our fears, our urges toward destruction–until we are reborn. Gorgeous, hurting, heartbreaking: these are the poems I’ll take on my own journey toward truth." 
~Sarah Browning, director of Split This Rock Poetry Festival; author of Whiskey in the Garden of Eden

"Carmen Calatayud’s poems are 'love stories from the ruins.' Unflinching and brave, her language winds through the wreckage of war zones and borderlands, but it also pauses to praise and to question the human heart. This inward and outward gaze, a blurring of the personal and the political, allows Calatayud to explore a larger lyrical space, to sing and to cry beneath 'black moons' and a 'pomegranate sun.' Beautifully crafted and beautifully humane, brimming with 'blood that blesses us all,' these poems survey the music and the decay around us."
~Eduardo C. Corral, winner of the Yale Younger Poets Prize for Slow Lightning

Press Attention for In the Company of Spirits


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