The author of Kingdom Animalia, Aracelis Girmay, had this to say about Citizens of the Mausoleum:
“These poems, they circled me as I chopped vegetables, walked to the train, fed the baby. These are poems that both archive the bodies traversing terrains and become varying bodies/terrains themselves. Subjects destabilized and infused with one another. And then there is the surprise of both what a body is/might be and how it might (the body of the poem or the body of the speaker) sing. Moments of song: ‘Instead, my body feeds on air’ and ‘Catrina, I folded myself / into a fox-faced bat / to neutralize the dark.’ In so many ways, these poems, to me, are paintings. Potent. Alive. Saturated with song and diction. Loss. An archive of loss which might also be an archive of love and/or reckoning. How essential an archive of loss or violence is if we are to know how to place ourselves in history, how to talk about what we’ve inherited and what we must move toward and against.”
Rodney Gomez is a member of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop and the proud son of migrant farmworkers. He is the author of Citizens of the Mausoleum (2018), Baedeker from the Persistent Refuge (2019), and the chapbooks Mouth Filled with Night, Spine, and A Short Tablature of Loss. His work has appeared in Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, Blackbird, Pleiades, Denver Quarterly, and Puerto del Sol, among other journals. He is the recipient of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Prize from Northwestern University, the RHINO Editors’ Prize, the Gloria Anzaldúa Poetry Prize, and the Rane Arroyo Prize. He studied philosophy at Yale and earned an MFA from the University of Texas-Pan American. He works at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and reviews poetry for Latino Book Review.
Other advance readers include Ed Roberson, author of To See the Earth Before the End of the World, who said:
“Gomez gives Coyolxauhqui and the other subjects in this book a poetry that is a bold construct of feeling and thought in highly evocative, often surreal and magical language. Citizens of the Mausoleum opens, for instance, with a poem cataloging the ephemera taken by anthropologists from fifty-two plots in a county burial park, sometimes multiple people in a single body bag. More than a mere list, these objects are evidence of the complex lives people lived up to their deaths in the desert. Throughout the book Gomez fills in that evidence with poems exhibiting the intensity of the lives and the love, familial, matriarchal and spiritual, experienced by his people.”