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For Want of Water and Other Poems

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  73 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Searing verses set on the Mexican border about war and addiction, love and sexual violence, grief and loss, from an American Book Award-winning author. Selected by Gregory Pardlo as winner of the National Poetry Series.
El Paso is one of the safest cities in the United States, while across the river, Ciudad Juarez suffers a history of femicides and a horrific drug war. Wi
Paperback, 136 pages
Published October 17th 2017 by Beacon Press
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Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: august-2017
Pimentel's poems are searingly evocative, emotive, bleak, dark, and packed to the brim with violence and heartbreak. There is a sensual feel to the whole, too; she weaves together so many themes and emotions in rather a masterful way. For Want of Water almost bubbles over with its grief, and is immensely powerful in consequence. ...more
Jun 26, 2021 rated it liked it
Lovely writing, and difficult to read. I have plans to revisit when my brain is a bit more in the groove! (In the groove?)
I liked this collection, although I think I definitely need to reread it to absorb the language and flow better. There was a lot of ache and sorrow in these ones, and I thought Pimentel did well putting emotion into words. Overall a solid book.
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This collection of 50+ poems are certainly a moving and at times harrowing account of the lives affected in the dangerous areas threatened by drugs and crimes. Some of the poems are more like short notes and some are similar to the Japanese haiku. But all resonates the deep suffering the writers have gone through. Highly recommended to fans of literature!
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
“Each time I enter a memory, it changes with my entrance.”
Caleb Mitchum
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I got to meet Sasha where I was working as staff and she was faculty. She gave a wonderfully engaging presentation about language, concluding with readings from her work. I didn’t get to interact with her very much. I was intimidated and found myself reading her reactions to the things I had to say about poetry derisively (which she would be totally entitled to do, considering my lack of knowledge) so I found myself making excuses. She came off as so fiercely intelligent and also incredibly stau ...more
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars

The only poem that really stands out in my memory is the title poem. Pimentel's phrasing can be very fussy and opaque. And this is a personal opinion, but I don't feel like your notes section should include quite so many "stolen" lines. I'm reading your book to hear your lines, not someone else's (this is totally different from referencing something that isn't an actual quotation). I always hate when I'm reading a book of poetry and fall in love with a line, only to read in the notes th
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Though there are Pimentel's lyrical, imagistic voice is crystallized brilliantly in a few these poems, in the rest it doesn't quite all come together. Her idiosyncratic diction can be cumbersome at times, and her metaphors are often frustratingly opaque. That being said, even the poems that didn't quite work for me were still interesting. ...more
Megan Mellino
May 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
I didn't *love* this collection. It felt a little too inaccessible. The language was a little too academic and the way the author chose to break up stanzas mid-sentence drove me a little nuts. I did like several poems, however, so I'm giving it a 3.75, rounded up to a 4. My favorite poem from this book was "Moment in Storm". ...more
Jan 08, 2018 rated it liked it
5 stars for the border poems about Ciudad Juárez, and the ones about her mother and father, but the poems she wrote about getting divorced and getting married to a guy who is also getting divorced are some of the most solipsistic and tone-deaf poems I have read in quite some time.
mad mags
Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Pimentel's writing is lovely, but I'm afraid that most of the imagery and meaning went right over my head. Definitely didn't help my self-confidence when it comes to "getting" poetry.

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through Edelweiss.)
May 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: bright-star
This was beautifully written, and very evocative. I'm generally not a poetry person, but I did enjoy this. ...more
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviews, poetry
To be honest, none of the poems in this collection really grabbed me. There were one or two that had powerful lines but overall I didn't find the same connection or emotion that the other reviewers found. I just wasn't that moved.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Born in Manila and raised in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, Sasha Pimentel is a Filipina poet and author of For Want of Water (Beacon Press, 2017), selected by Gregory Pardlo as a winner of the 2016 National Poetry Series, and Insides She Swallowed (West End Press, 2010), winner of the 2011 American Book Award. A finalist for the 2015 Rome Prize in Literature (American Academy of Arts and Letters), he ...more

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