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Virgin

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  479 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Selected by Ross Gay as winner of the inaugural Jake Adam York Prize, Analicia Sotelo's debut collection of poems is a vivid portrait of the artist as a young woman.

In Virgin, Sotelo walks the line between autobiography and mythmaking, offering up identities like dishes at a feast. These poems devour and complicate tropes of femininity--of naivete, of careless abandon--bef
...more
Paperback, 95 pages
Published February 13th 2018 by Milkweed Editions
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  479 ratings  ·  75 reviews


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Jenny (Reading Envy)
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was hooked from the first poem, "Do You Speak Virgin?" from this impressive debut collection by Analicia Sotelo.

My favorites included:
"Ariadne's Guide to Getting a Man"
"My Mother & the Parable of the Lemons"
"My English Victorian Dating Troubles."

What I like about them - the way they feel youthful, but not naive. The way the poet's voice knows her inexperience but moves through the world deliberately masking her understanding of it so other women feel safe, and she herself is safer (but not
...more
Krista Regester
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
That was the bookstore,
the last time I saw him.
Now you are a page I read
while holding my breath. I’ll turn you
into something else, a footnote
of a person. Like I was
sitting next to you on our friend’s couch,
your hand on my thigh for several seconds.
You said it—Do you want me to cook for you?
—as if you could promise that and more.
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a great collection of poems reflecting on how a young woman comes to find her place in the world and love herself. Many of the poems use the Ariadne myth as a basis, but others relate to art and her Mexican American culture.
Alana
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
To admit I love you would be to admit

I love ideas more than men,
myself even less than ideas.
Rachel
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
"I dream the scent
of my mother's lipstick
has come back to haunt me---
like an oil pastel
marking
my dreary, dramatic heart."

I loved this collection. The poems gained momentum as I read, and I read the very last one, The Ariadne Year, four times in a row. I love how she blends heartache and humor and beauty, and I love how I feel like I got some sense of who she is, like she opened a window into her mind, her soul. I don't always feel that with poetry, but I did here.
Maddie
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
"How’s my birthday lamb? Oh, brutal. Delicious."
Gina
May 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
Virgin is multiple award winning poet Analicia Sotelo's first collection. Many of these were previously published individually in various places. It is incredibly well reviewed. There are some highlights in this collection, including Personal Property and the several poems which look into the relationship between the author and her estranged/absentee father and her father and mother. Yet, this fully reminded me why I don't read more poetry. Call me lazy if you want, but I got tired trying to pic ...more
Faviola
Aug 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
Yeah, this was one of those books where the author tries to make everything sound sophisticated. I kept thinking maybe I was just too dumb to understand it and that's why I thought it was bad....... I asked three friends to read parts of it and they also thought it was bad. It's big pass on this on if you ask me.
Nadine Jones
Oct 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
2.5 stars

Sotelo has a very youthful voice. There is promise here and I’d like to see what she publishes in the future, but I found this collection was uneven, and didn’t really “speak” to me.

Private Property
In this minor emergency of the self,
we drink to become confused,
to swim in the dark like idiot fish.

This is a lake at night in a forest.

This is where we look up at the stains
in the sky and someone says, It’s purpling out here,
and someone else says, Someone write that down.

We’re all performing
...more
Diana Iozzia
Nov 25, 2019 rated it liked it
“Virgin”
Written by Analicia Sotelo
Reviewed by Diana Iozzia

“Virgin” by Analicia Sotelo is a collection of poetry, the first work I have read by this author. The author incorporates themes of murder, death, comedy, mythology, religion, mental illness, adulthood, femininity, modernity, and literature.

Personally, this collection was not within the realm of poetry that I would enjoy. I found Sotelo’s poetry to be odd and blunt, with elements that were too dark and complicated for me, often too politi
...more
Priscilla (Bookie Charm)
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: latinx, poetry
"When they said Virgin, they meant Version we've left behind. I didn't trust them."


In Virgin, Sotelo use various styles of prose to push and pull on the identity and roles of Mexican-American women and sexuality. Reading from a local Houston poet like Sotelo is especially intimate for me because it captures a unique commentary of Latinx culture and feminism that builds and smolders as you work your way through the collection.

I connected with many of her poems due to her meditative craft but
...more
Naomi
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018, poetry
This is a book with serious poems that interweave remnants from classic Western mythology, Catholic imagery, and Mexican American experiences.
But the whole collection was worth reading to be surprised/tickled by these lines:
"See, there is a white man
in every single one of us.
Yes, everyone is wearing casual yacht wear now
& mispronouncing their specialty condiments
O gentlemen
I am the angel/whore of kale chips"


Anyway, my favorites are "I'm Trying to Write a Poem about a Virgin and It's Awful," "
...more
Matt Ely
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I appreciated the multiplicity of styles, sometimes letting words languish and drag, other times pushing one after another. Her titles work incredibly well as a supplement to the poem itself, with examples like "I'm trying to write a poem about a virgin and it's awful," setting the tone that helpfully contrasts with a series inspired by Greek myth. I read this volume quickly for school, but it deserves more time than I gave it, and there are large sections I would like to return to at a slower p ...more
Mara
Aug 15, 2019 added it
My favorite section in the collection is the one titled, MYTH, which features poems about Ariadne, Theseus, and the Minotaur.

Favorite poems include, "South Texas Persephone" and "Ariadne Discusses Theseus in Relation to the Minotaur."

"We're all performing our bruises." (p.20)

"When they said Virgin, they meant Version we've left behind." (p.23)

"That's what marriage is like, you know,
someone is always well prepared

for the sacrifice, and someone else
is the sacrifice." (p.77)
Emma Jones
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ok so I’m the first to say I did not totally understand all of these poems (I almost never understand 100 percent of any given poetry collection). But I appreciated the gorgeous imagery (“The moon pointed out my neckline like a chaperone”) and the inclusion of Greek mythology, as well as the perspective on the speaker’s family. I don’t know that “understanding” is something that really needs to happen with this collection. Just enjoy the journey.
Kris - My Novelesque Life
DNF @18%
2018; Milkweed Editions

I force read the first few poems, and then started skimming all the ones I could not get into, so was done in five minutes. The poetry was not to my liking. I could not relate or feel for the poems. For me, I usually either love or don't poems.

***I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the publisher through Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.***
Kayla Zacharias
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it
I don't read a lot of poetry, but I thought this was okay. There's some good stuff about male toxicity here.
Brianna Albers
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, favorites
I knew I was going to like this but dang son
Lulu (the library leopard)
I picked this up because the cover really caught my eye, ended up really liking the Ariadne-inspired poems.
lex
Mar 17, 2020 added it
loved her sensory detail - the food especially, and the symbolism for it. BBQ. egg yolks. grilled peaches and a line about a man cooking meat that I understood completely.
Rudy
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
"I hang back on the shore with Kyle. / We talk about his man in New York / while our skinny-dipping sirens / sing show tunes in the violet dark."

THIS BOOK IS AMAZING PLS READ IT.
Sarah Koppelkam
Not a lot of this stuck with me, so I guess it's not a top pick for me. That said, Sotelo is a fierce female voice. I like thinking about this alongside "The Poet X" by Elizabeth Acevedo.
Aloysiusi Lionel
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book (actually, an e-book sent by the generous Mark Anthony Cayanan) reminds me of the films Ladybird and The Little Hours, both of which were released in 2017, explored how a woman's knowledge and intimacy with her own sexuality can render her vulnerable once and powerful ever, and instructed men on how to look at a woman: not with elation for the giftedness of the body, but with fascination for the outspokenness of the mind. "Now I have three heads: one / for speech, one for sex, / and on ...more
Lexi Nylander
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I loved this. I love the feel and the intensity. My favorite sections was Myth with Parable being a close second. My favorite poems were Theseus at the Naxos Apartment Complex, 6 am, Death Wish, Ariadne Discusses Theseus in Relation to the Minotaur, and Father Fragments (or, Yellow Ochre).

"When a man tells you he is a monster, believe him. When a man says you will get hurt, leave. Get into a boat, out onto a sea that everyone owns."

"and everyone knows the best kinds of shadows look like the wors
...more
Michelle
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Eh, didn't really connect with this one. Lots of subpar Plath karaoke, randomly dispersed line breaks in occasionally interesting-sounding but ultimately meaning-free and slippery prose, a surfeit of boring and facile autobiography, an overarching lack of rigor. Perhaps unfairly, as I read I think I began to hold Virgin up as the avatar for everything that annoys me about contemporary poetry. I did think that the quality picked up considerably in the latter sections that dealt more with mytholog ...more
Kaitlyn
Aug 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Sotelo’s writing was undoubtedly good. She is a great poet who utilizes form and imagery to create great stories.

However, the emotional impact was lacking in most of her poems for me. The endings of the poems always left me unsatisfied.
Matt
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book of poems. Sotelo has a good handle on that poetic voice that is at once conversational and at the same time takes wild, exaggerated lyric turns that include striking imagery that is outside of the usual conversational range, or at least mine is. Given the title, it's probably not too big a shock that this book is interested in interrogating questions of female identity and desire, and it does this through five or six short cycles of poems. The figures of Theseus, Ariad ...more
emma
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, 2018
At its core, Virgin is a book of the myths surrounding the heart: the myth of who a bittersweet single girl has been she has been: “People think I’m sweet… look now: my heart // is a fist of barbed wire” (8, 18), myth of those she'd once desired, myth of unreachable fathers, urban legends behind the likes of Frieda Kahlo, and traditional myths, rooted in Ariadne and Theseus.
Sotelo explores the feminine, specifically the bittersweet single girl in all her conflicted, tired-of-your-bullshit, lovi
...more
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it

This poetry collection by local Houston poet, Analicia Sotelo, was described as being centered around Latina sexuality. It read as a coming of age and reflective collection, with situational rather than abstract imagery (the ability to include themes of femininity within a poem about Texas BBQ was particularly impressive!). I really enjoyed it and felt it engaged and connected with the reader really quickly with the use of first person voice. This was a really refreshing read and I felt like it
...more
Kelly
May 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Ross Gay calls Sotelo's collection of poems a "performance of a kind of bruise, or bruising" and describes the poems as "leaning into the many registers of heartbreak." I think these poems would have appealed to me in my youth. The book takes the (usually) female's speaker's pain and makes it the center of the universe. The poet describes pain with imagery from classical mythology, religion, and nature. The poems dwell in the pain, even celebrate it. But, for me, poems like these languish with a ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Changes for two editions of same book 2 18 Feb 17, 2018 11:10AM  

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“I want to know what's coming in the afterlife
before I sign off on arguments
in the kitchen & the sight of him
fleeing to the car
once he sees how far & wide,
how dark & deep
this frigid female mind can go.”
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“Now I have three heads: one
for speech, one for sex,

and one for second-guessing.”
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