Oxblood is a collection so fierce and yet so vulnerable that it demands to be read in one sitting, even though some of the poems leave you raw. And you return to interrogate those poems because of the book s haunting question: How do you survive an act of sexual violence that is also an intimate emotional betrayal? Garcia s themes are intense, but their impact is made stunning by her mastery of craft her subtle rhymes and the carefully chosen forms that resonate with this new poet s breathtaking voice as she does her best to shape neat squares from exit wounds.
—Anna M. Evans, author of Under Dark Waters: . . . the Titanic and Sisters & Courtesans
This is a book of Ovidian elaboration and imagination. Rape, the subject, leaves an awful legacy in the human being who has suffered it and is condemned to remember. The color of this memory, the oxblood of the title, reminds us of the carnality of victimhood and sacrifice. In poetry of the highest quality, verse that never fails to be first rate, the savagery of sexual assault is stitched indelibly.
—Mark Jarman, author of The Heronry: Poems and Dailiness: Essays
Damn, this book comes at you, from the first sound to the last syllable. Nicole Caruso Garcia s Oxblood stares into the abyss of sexual and systemic violence and does not blink nor succumb to victimhood or defeat. Rather, it rises on sinewed wings of resistance, resilience, and grace. At every moment the searing language and harrowing content threaten to snap against the hurricane high-wire tension created by Garcia s deft use of fixed forms such as blank verse, triolets, villanelles, and haiku. And yet Garcia finds her way sublimely through the storm, tearing death shrouds into poems that attempt to embrace the creatures coiled around your limbs. Oxblood, beautiful with brokenness, is a fierce and fearless debut by a breathtakingly gifted and badass poet.
—Matt W. Miller, author of Tender the River and The Wounded for the Water