|BROADSTONE BOOKS announces
|Publication Date: April 1, 2017
Paperback, 92 pages
Booksellers: Available from
Small Press Distribution
Ed O’Casey earned an MA at the
University of North Texas and an
MFA at New Mexico State University.
His poems have appeared in Berkeley
Poetry Review, Cold Mountain VIEW,
Euphony, Poetry Quarterly, Whiskey
Island, NANO Fiction, and West Trade
Review. He lives in northern
Appropriate for an account of life, and death, on the border between two countries,
two worlds, two realities, by an author who has roots in both, this book bridges genres,
of verse and memoir and journalism and creative non-fiction. As poetry of
documentary witness it is a corrosive account (a word carefully chosen, for indeed
there are bodies dissolved in acid in these pages), a harrowing but necessary
confrontation with the horrific results of America's drug wars and trade pacts.
Nominally set in El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico, it more truthfully occupies a
hellscape straight out of a Hieronymus Bosch painting, and for all its terror it is just
as marvelous a creation.
Praise for Ed O'Casey and Proximidad:
"Ed O'Casey gets close. Closer. Closest. His poems crawl up from Juarez streets,
nestle in his bed, in his child's nursery, in his mind and heart and soul. And then he
writes them to us, to all of us who learn what we do not want to know about this
border that lives inside us, no matter the walls and fences we build to keep it distant."
Molly Molloy, Border and Latin America
Specialist at New Mexico State University
"Ed O'Casey’s Proximidad is a gorgeous, harrowing memoir of identity and place.
Returning to his childhood homeland of El Paso, Texas, to live in his father’s house
with his wife and newborn daughter, makes O'Casey inhabit the liminal chaos of the
drug war-ravaged border between Mexico and the United States—a line demarcated
by a trickle of water and a bridge—nearly nothing at all. Proximidad traverses the
nostalgia of his Mexican-American youth and the palpable fear of the death-steeped
present. Even El Paso—the second safest city in America—has air thickly tinged with
death and haunted by the hundreds of women missing from the maquiladoras on the
Mexican side of the Rio Grande or the nameless, fingerless and faceless bodies that
appear in Juarez each morning. Proximidad effortlessly delves into the horrific beauty
of Juarez and El Paso with muscular lyricism, mining experimental constellations of
poems and personal prose from a bedrock of hewn and collaged advertisements,
news, and magazine articles. O'Casey shows us how fragile and dread-edged even the
fiercest of our loves can be. This is a wondrous first book."
Alex Lemon, author of The Wish Book and
Happy: A Memoir
"In Ed O'Casey’s timely book, Proximidad, the author, of mixed heritage working in
mixed genres, offers us a memoir of unparalleled honesty, humility, and commitment
to art’s twin ideals—testament and responsibility—the pursuit of which is endless,
especially given the elusiveness of his subject, the borderlands as a cultural, psycho-
logical, and political space. In the process, a land between cultures embodies its own
culture defined, if ever, by proximity, reducible to neither side of the boundary. To
find one’s place on the border is, in some profound sense, to lose one’s way, to go
outward painfully, factually, unflinchingly, because one’s true home is always here
and elsewhere, embedded in debt and gratitude, in the contingent nature of identity
and our great unyielding hunger for a larger story. A terrific book."
Bruce Bond, author of The Other Sky and
For the Lost Cathedral
"Proximidad: A Mexican/American Memoir is a hammer to the back of the skull. It
hits hard without being sensationalist...." To read the full interview with Ed O'Casey
by Octavio Quintanilla in American Microreviews & Interviews, click here.