At the center of “From a Poet to her Rumbero” is a bucking heart, grappling with its fanged history & unbreaking fever. You sense its luminous pulse from the opening scene: i’m a dying sky of eagles / i’m arrowed into it. The poem’s language is unbridled yet moves with a sinuous grace, cinematic in scope–you can almost hear the trumpets blaring as each new line unfurls its glittering tapestry of Spanish and english: grey mirada turned ice y todo / i’m blessed with ancestor names / i’m protected by light / tú cantas y cantas y cantas / until i know all your harmony / but i won’t beg you to see me. I will always treasure the full-body, heart throttle of a poem that refuses to simplify love-grief & its many heads. From a Poet to her Rumbero is adventurous and much larger than its page, the form barely able to hold steady the text’s orchestral muscle, providing a gorgeous collision of ferocity & song. — Poetry Judge, Rachel McKibbens

From a Poet to her Rumbero

after La Media Vuelta/ Rumberos de Cuba

Sarah María Medina

Sarah María Medina reading “From a Poet to her Rumbero,” recorded at Jack Straw Cultural Center by Bryan Angeles.

Sarah María Medina is a poet and a fiction/creative non-fiction writer from the American Northwest. Her writing has been published in Prelude, Poetry NW, Split This Rock, Raspa Literary Journal, and elsewhere. Her work is also found in Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color (Nightboat Books, 2018), and Bettering American Poetry Vol. 2. She is an ARTIST UP Grant LAB recipient, a Jack Straw Writer, and the poetry editor at Winter Tangerine. Find her here: