SCAR ON/SCAR OFF is a poetry-prose collection on Stalking Horse Press forthcoming in October 2017. It is available via the press’s website here . You can also order on Amazon, B&N, etc. or from your local indie bookstore. From the publisher:
Jennifer Maritza McCauley’s ‘Scar On/Scar Off’ runs the borderlands of mestiza consciousness, by turns neon-lit and beating, defiant and clashing, searching and struggling, in fistfuls of recognition, in constant pursuit of intersections and dualities. Drawing on Audre Lorde, Gloria Anzaldua, Toni Morrison, Claudia Rankine, and the inspirations of her late friend Monica A. Hand, through polyglossia and hybrid text, McCauley evokes vividly the relationships between psyche and city, identity and language. In the rhythm and snap of these poems and fragmentary stories, we find echoes of Sarah Webster Fabio, Beyonce, flamenco, Nikki Giovanni, street slang, danger and hope. This is a profound collection, a rebel language.’
and for listing the book in its year end 2017 roundup here.
To Jasminne Mendez for listing SCAR ON/SCAR OFF as one of “10 Afro-Latinx Books You Need to Read Right Now.”
and for the interview & profile on Platano Cafe.
To Verse Daily for highlighting the book/poems from the book here and here.
To Independent Publisher for awarding SCAR ON/SCAR OFF a 2018 Bronze Medal in Poetry.
To Luna Luna Magazine for listing SCAR ON/SCAR OFF as one of their 20 Best Books of 2017.
To Independent Publisher for calling SCAR ON/SCAR OFF one of “10 Books That Go Beyond the Latino Label” here
McCauley’s debut collection of poems and prose immediately made me a fan. She wields ‘rebel language’ that goes straight for the heart and soul, weaving tales that make a reader shiver and sigh. She’s fearless, forthright, but never glib or gaudythis is honest writinga voice that is thrilling to witness. The truths this poet reveals are not pretty, but she handles them with an earned grace, a street-tested vibe. This collection is far more than ‘black girl magic, ‘it’s ‘black woman essential.'”-Allison Joseph, author of ‘Confessions of a Barefaced Woman’
“McCauley’s poetry is the real deal! Fiercely feminine and exceedingly humane, ‘Scar On/Scar Off’ will surprise, delight, and then heal some part of you that you didn’t even know was hurting.” —Denise Duhamel, author of ‘Blowout’
“This book! It moves and breathes and sings like a living organism. The pulse is vital, the insights sharp as a blade. Who speaks truth to power this way: ‘Tell them we been mournin’ bullet-warmed/ blood long before they told us: now this is how/ you interpret a death?’ Who strikes the page with such a necessary question: ‘how boring/is your/ego that my/darkface/still bothers/you/this much?’ Jennifer Martiza McCauley is the answer: an essential, undaunted, luminous new voice who carries within her many voices, many stories. Scar On/Scar Off is poetry that conjures and skewers our fractured zeitgeist.” —Julie Marie Wade, author of ‘Catechism: A Love Story’ and ‘When I Was Straight”
“There is a type of loss that cannot be represented, though its feeling can be caught, like a yawn as wide as the place where endings meet beginnings. When I read Jennifer Maritza McCauley, I feel like I’m falling into myself, snagged on something I forgot to look at while I was busy mourning some other, closer loss. My hand is being guided across the page, salty words lapping up into my wounds. I remember I have lost something. I remember we have lost something, and I can see its outline, like the lips of an open mouth. Words spill back into it, reminding me why I first came to language.” —Raquel Salas Rivera, author of ‘Caneca de anhelos turbios’ and ‘lo terciario/the tertiary’
“McCauley confidently narrates how a body, a black body ‘big as God and filled with all kinds of delicate weather’ navigates through this world while also inhabiting a brown body within. It is difficult to be in a bar alone, men beckoning. It is difficult to say Beyonce videos make us teary-eyed. It is difficult to admit I am this, despite looking like this, and sounding like that. These poems ring all the sides of McCauley’s Afro-Latina experience as she writhes discomfort into deft introspection. McCauley’s work displays how black/brown skin has limits, complexities, a multiplicity of fears and joys. SCAR ON/SCAR OFF is a brave and necessary debut.” —F. Douglas Brown, author of ‘Zero to Three’
…”Jennifer Maritza McCauley’s poetry breaks my heart. It’s so, so fantastic…” —Joanna C. Valente, author of Marys of the Sea
“….Some people like to say they are speaking their mind. Others want to tell you what’s on their heart. McCauley has found a way to do both. Often she integrates the two and, where they disagree, she notes that too….”I am a rebel language,” she writes in “Whey They Say Stop Speaking Ghetto.” And that rebellion, which both honors the power of words and pushes back against their failures, makes “Scar On/Scar Off” one of the year’s great books.”
—Columbia Daily Tribune
“McCauley is the undeniable successor to a rich tradition of truth tellers. Her words are necessary…”–Dianca Potts, Signature-Reads
“In Scar On/Scar Off, Jennifer Maritza McCauley uses both poetry and prose to explore the effects of institutional sexism and racism, and to chart out her own perspective on a host of complex matters. The range of styles on display here provide a comprehensive look at the issues addressed, with a memorable use of language throughout…” –Tobias Carroll, Signature-Reads
“…McCauley’s book lays bare the difficulties of mixed race identity in a world bent on black and white. It refuses to conform to one racial narrative, and thus is a powerful addition to a growing canon of multi-racial literature…. these poems carry themselves boldly and “create something as beautiful as life…” –Emily Perez, Rhino Poetry
“…In poem after poem, McCauley illustrates with lyrical resonance how deeply intertwined family and social history can be….”– Kathryn Nuernberger, St. Louis-Dispatch
JMM is a practitioner of due consideration, whether that’s weighing the small imperialisms of language gate-keeping identities or generating exclusive authenticities or the throwing a lasso across a city street with empty promises, fantasias of love like heaven come to this world one second, the savaged cathedral of the heart the next. JMM’s words and lines and stanzas fill buses and carnivals, they crowd together so close you know all but some last border’s relaxed into galvanizing crossings that sees worlds and histories refracted through objects of desire, whole communities of desire, whole countries of tongue and skin and the hope for a next and better heaven to come into being right here, where we maybe be wrecked, but not ruined, not yet, to hear her tell it. —Marc McKee, author of Fuse (Black Lawrence Press), Bewilderness (Black Lawrence), Consolationeer (Black Lawrence Press) December 2017
-“…No matter which genre you want to prowl, [McCauley’s] there, at home and decidedly not with words whose kinship has been thrust upon them, and whose new reals she has taken up the mantle of honoring and ameliorating. How fortunate we are that our recognition of discomfort and pain in constant acclimation is softened by [McCauley’s] curiosity and graciousness with even the prickliest of it. How much better suited we are, when we listen, to being the citizens of the future we need now to be…” –Marc McKee, author of Fuse (Black Lawrence Press, 2011) and Bewilderness (Black Lawrence Press), Consolationeer (Black Lawrence Press 2017).
-“…McCauley gives her characters the ability to express metaphor and feeling in their conversations even as she uses metaphor in her descriptive prose…” –Anne Graue, New Pages