A Crown for Gumecindo by Laurie Ann Guerrero

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Winner of the 2016 Helen C. Smith Best Book of Poetry Award from the Texas Institute of Letters, and named one of eight must-read books by indispensable small presses by NBC Latino.

Dedicated and addressed to the poet’s grandfather, A Crown for Gumecindo is a heroic crown of sonnets that chronicles the first year of grief experienced due to the loss of the family patriarch. Through 15 linked sonnets, journal entries, and meditations, Guerrero reexamines the lessons she inherited, both intentionally and unintentionally, through the careful dissecting of the multigenerational, multilingual, and multifaceted male-female relationship. Also examining the role of the writer, Guerrero draws upon various histories—personal, social, literary—in order to expose the uncertainties encountered in a time of mourning. Visual artist and poet Maceo Montoya also draws upon his histories, contributing 15 paintings inspired by Guerrero’s sonnets that offer readers a layered experience of the tender and often shocking revelations of grief.

Praise for A Crown for Gumecindo

“Wrought from both love and anguish, Guerrero, one of our finest lyric poets…invites us to the complex and dense universe of familial bonds.”
—Carmen Giménez Smith, author of Be Recorder

“Guerrero skillfully shapes the sonnet to build a crown of memory, tenderness, and grief for a man who becomes more than a man in this collection… Gumecindo, in these poems, becomes our beloved, our grandfather, the carpenter and king of our broken hearts.”
—Natalie Diaz, author of Postcolonial Love Poem

A Crown for Gumecindo was worked for, and earned, and not without great resistance. The result of that work is staggering.”
—Aracelis Girmay, author of The Black Maria

“An exquisite collection.” —Virginia Grise, author of blu​​

​”Guerrero unpacks the event and aftermath, the meditations, vows, and reckoning that surface in the wake of loss.”—Diego Baez for The Rumpus

Laurie Ann Guerrero, born and raised in the Southside of San Antonio, is the author of four collections: Babies under the Skin (Panhandler 2008), A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying (University of Notre Dame Press, 2013), A Crown for Gumecindo, a collaboration with visual artist, Maceo Montoya (Aztlan Libre Press, 2015), and New & Selected: I Have Eaten the Rattlesnake (Texas Christian University Press, 2020).

Poets & Writers Magazine named Guerrero one of 10 top debut poets in 2014. Her work has received various awards including the Panhandler Chapbook Award, Andres Montoya Poetry Prize from the Institute of Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, the Helen C. Smith Award for poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters, an International Latino Book Award, and has been listed as must-read works of Chicano literature. Other honors include grants from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio and the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation. She is a CantoMundo alum and member of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop.

In 2014, Guerrero and was appointed by former mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro, Poet Laureate of the city of San Antonio, the seventh largest city in the nation. In May of 2015, Guerrero was appointed the 2016 Poet Laureate of the State of Texas by the 84th legislature of Texas. Guerrero holds a B.A. in English Language & Literature from Smith College and an MFA in poetry from Drew University. She is the Writer-in-Residence at Texas A&M University-San Antonio and is at work on a collection of mixed-media poems & essays.


Laurie Ann Guerrero at Best American Poetry blog: Stealing the Crown