That’s right familia, Washington Heights’ own JP Infante just released his debut prose poetry chapbook, On the Tip of Your Mother’s Tongue. It is an absolute must-read that delves into how JP grappled and came to terms with his mother’s mental health issues while coming of age in Washington Heights, NYC. The book was the winner of the 4th Annual Thirty West chapbook contest. Please click below and support one of our own.
“JP Infante captures the complexities of addiction, homelessness, mental illness and racial identity through the lens of a son whose mother is dedicated to one thing; survival. JP’s prose is a lesson in snapshot vulnerability and introspection. JP moves us rapidly through short scenes condensed with an emotional precision that forces us to slow down and contend with our own disasters. Whether on the tip of a tongue, or an iceberg, the magic in this book is in what lives underneath, every word that has yet to be said.”
poet and author of the forthcoming
WHEN WE MAKE IT (Penguin Random House 2021)
“On the Tip of Your Mother’s Tongue is not really a chapbook, it is a pocket universe, a masterclass in sparse yet terse prose poetry. The second person point of view combined with that most potent of narrators, the child witness, recounting with the wherewithal of a now grown ass man, deposits the reader firmly between the lines. It is there, in that space between the spaces that On the Tip of Your Mother’s Tongue haunts us, follows us around long after we’ve put it down, in the space of what remains unsaid. And still, there are moments of clean and direct devastation: “Your mother answered the HRA worker’s questions while you waited to be asked, ‘Is your mother crazy?’ You were never asked. Maybe because sanity wasn’t a requirement for food stamps or because the answer was known.” We have here a wonderful introduction to a writer with a fierce intellect and a sharp set of skills.”
—ROBERTO CARLOS GARCIA,
author of the forthcoming [Elegies] (FlowerSong Press), black / Maybe: An Afro Lyric (Willow Books), and Melancolía (Cervena Barva)
“You were seven or eight the first time you questioned your mother’s sanity,” writes JP Infante in his debut poetry chapbook, winner of the 4th Annual Thirty West chapbook contest, On the Tip of Your Mother’s Tongue. Infante’s poetry-prose narrative explores trauma, memory, identity, and a son’s eventual acceptance of his mother’s mental illness. The chapbook’s three chapters “Umbilical,” “Buying Cocaine,” and “Almost All About My Mother” are comprised of stories told in a series of nested micro-prose narratives that add up to a larger story, along with one creative nonfiction piece… On the Tip of Your Mother’s Tongue is not only a meditation on trauma and its consequences in micro moments but also Infante’s testimony of survival, resilience, and strength.”
— DR. ANNECY BAEZ,
educator and writer, author of MY DAUGHTER’S EYES AND OTHER STORIES, winner of the Marmol prize for first Latina fiction (2007).