Treasure this first book by Jen Yáñez-Alaníz, Surrogate Eater, as the collector’s item it will become. It births a necessary message, resonating profoundly in the echoes of universal human experience. Mysterious and sensual, these poems speak to multiple levels of hunger, generational trauma, sexist demands layered through and between generations, and finally a transformative actualization, a liberation through pre-Columbian images and concepts making connections that are unexpected, stripped bare, and overflowing with the power of unsilenced truth.
Yañez-Alaniz’ writing is a lion – powerful and filled with grace. And her contributions will be as unique and as useful as were Frida’s. — Carmen Tafolla, State Poet Laureate of Texas and author of Sonnets to Human Beings, Rebozos & Warrior Girl.
“My lovers, they reach. Each takes from the flesh, /My body at the table,” Jen Yáñez-Alaniz writes and strikes at the heart of her collection, Surrogate Eater. How do you reclaim the body which consumes and is consumed? “The thing about love and my mouth, / both keep the shape of hunger, /crease my unforgiving tongue.” These poems are sensuous and provocative, dreamy and visceral, and sometimes devastating as they demonstrate how the mouth speaking can reclaim the body and the body’s power, pleasure, and agency.
— ire’ne lara silva, State Poet Laureate of Texas and author of Cuicacalli/House of Song
In a nation known for its culture of Foodies and image-conscious Influencers, Jen Yañez-Alaniz writes, “I know the comfort of a purge…/ the importance of keeping / or letting go.” Surrogate Eater is a testament to the power of food not as nourishment, but as a tool of repression, shame, and control over the bodies and sexuality of girls and young women. This is a collection that examines our bodies used for the fulfillment of others, but also celebrates the body, whose sensual pleasures is its own reward. In a lyricism infused with melancholic cadence, tension between spirituality and erotic
desire, and delectable imagery, Surrogate Eater is the debut of Jen Yañez-Alaniz, an original and arresting voice that will have you begging for “sweet contrition.”
— John Olivares Espinoza, author of The Date Fruit Elegies and recipient of a 2023 City of San Antonio Project Grant for Individual Artists
“Jen Yáñez-Alaniz’s poetry is mythic, musical, and political- her craft is subtle birdsong that becomes an explosive echo in your heart.”
Surrogate Eater, a signed limited edition chapbook Forthcoming Spring 2023: Pre-orders now open $17.00 Venmo: @Alabravapress PayPal: email@example.com
“Each of us brings to the table our own experiences of hunger & what we eat or don’t eat for survival. We often inherit the burden of hunger & denial of nourishment from deeply rooted spaces, paradoxically, from spaces denying us our roots. This chapbook, Surrogate Eater, speaks to being in recovery from hunger. It speaks to the seeds we hold on our tongues & every beautiful flower born from our mouths.” Jen Yáñez-Alaniz
Current Collection in Process
Jen Yáñez-Alaniz is working on a full collection of poetry that explores the repressive denigration of racial, sexual, and personal value in patriarchal religion and society. Based on her own perceptions, her poetry utilizes the metaphors of traditional Catholicism and caste-level colonialism, to break free from painful traditions and to reveal hidden oppression. Her writing celebrates and empowers the body and spirit while paralleling energy to indigenous female archetypes of strength and leadership.
Reading from Puro Chicanx Writers of the 21st Century Anthology
Genoa [Jen] Yáñez-Alaniz illustrates the pain of a young woman’s confrontation with racism at a pivotal moment in her life. In “Purity of the Homecoming Dress,” she writes of a high school girl whose school counselor has made it clear that “[w]e cannot masquerade you in a skinny white girl dress.” The racism she faces has deep roots, hidden in the Texas census records, but her mother urges her to resist:
Bring back the survival of escaped esclavos from your past
Draw their spirits through the gifted length of your body
Bind them to the caramel coating of your Mestiza blood
… And thank them.
Welcome: A Poetry Declaration
“Poetry is one of humanity’s oldest forms of expression and can be used to create deep connections between poets and the worlds they inhabit. Teachers and other community members also use poetry to connect people who feel displaced. A unique project in San Antonio, Welcome: A Poetry Declaration, is using poetry to celebrate World Refugee Day and to create myriad connections for displaced people. Refugees flee from their home countries to preserve their lives and seeking liberty and hoping to find happiness through peace. Once they leave their countries, refugees search for connections to their former homes, to create connections to their new homes, and to promote deeper engagement across humanity.” — City of San Antonio Immigration Liaison, Tino Gallegos
— Co-founders of Welcome: A Poetry Declaration, San Antonio City Immigration Liaison, Celestino Gallegos and Director of CIELO Unity in Action, Jen Yáñez-Alaniz
Watch Welcome: A Poetry Declaration 2021, organized and curated by Jen and Tino, with a special thank you to San Antonio Museum of Art for hosting and to all our community partners, wonderful artists poets, and educators.