Calling Home

Praise Songs and Incantations

In hauntingly clear verses, Naomi Ayala’s collection Calling Home: Praise Songs and Incantations evokes vivid imagery of contemporary life superimposed on a realm of mysterious spirits and ancient wisdom. The poet uncovers energy and magic in unexpected places and skips from world to world, strategy to strategy, as she traverses the known and named obstacles of racial, cultural, sexual, class, and linguistic identities to arrive at an intersection of infinite possibilities. In so doing, she reveals the lost and rediscovered, the known and unknown, the spiritual amid the material in language that is both celebratory and spellbinding. Calling Home is the fifth volume in the Canto Cosas series.

"Ayala does the best that poetry can do. She is the poet to whom things speak, no matter how they are called. . . . Simply put, Calling Home is the best book of poetry you'll read in a long time, by a Latina or any other." —Lorna Dee Cervantes, author of Sueños

“Naomi Ayala speaks in a voice that is easily accessible by readers of all backgrounds. Yet between the lines are traces of aché—life force—in the nuances of meaning left for those who share the Puerto Rican urban experience in diaspora. Ayala’s living words, like incantations, open an exciting world for us to enter and experience aché.” —Arturo Lindsay, author of Santería Aesthetics in Contemporary Latin American Art

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About the Canto Cosas series

This poetry series, which was initially supported by awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Arizona Commission on the Arts, is designed to give further exposure to Latina and Latino poets who have achieved a significant level of critical recognition through individual chapbooks and publication in periodicals or anthologies or both, but who in most cases have not had their own books of poetry published. Under the watchful eye of series editor, poet, and small press publisher Francisco Aragón, the books in Canto Cosas aim to reflect the aesthetic diversity in American poetry.

Naomi Ayala
Author Bio: 

A native of Puerto Rico, Naomi Ayala is the author of two other books of poetry, Wild Animals on the Moon (Curbstone, 1997) and This Side of Early (Curbstone/Northwestern University Press, 2008), and the translator of a book of poems by the Argentine poet Luis Alberto Ambroggio, The Wind’s Archeology (Mexico: Vaso Roto Ediciones, 2011). Among her awards are a Special Recognition for Community Service from the US Congress and a Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy of Environmental Justice Award. Naomi received her MFA in writing and literature from Bennington College and lives in Washington, DC.

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