Rebecca Parades reviews Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed: 15 Voices from the Latinx Diaspora in this month’s book review, a new anthology featuring writers who ” interrogate the different myths and stereotypes about the Latinx diaspora.” Parades calls the collection “as raw as it is refined, one that speaks to each writer’s truth and sheds light on the realities of the Latin American diaspora.”
The stories we tell ourselves are formed by the people and experiences that shape us, like a river rock worn smooth after so many years of water. But what happens when we ask, “Why are these my stories, and what do I want to say?” In Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed, a collection of essays and poems edited by Saraciea J. Fennel, fifteen Latin American writers interrogate topics ranging from identity and colorism to autonomy and family ties. This is an anthology that is as raw as it is refined, one that speaks to each writer’s truth and sheds light on the realities of the Latin American diaspora.
The collection opens with “Eres Un Pocho” by Mark Oshiro, an intimate essay about Oshiro’s experience growing up adrift between cultures. “Pocho” is an insult that can mean many things, but here, it refers to a Mexican American who doesn’t speak Spanish. The use of second-person narration, paired with the repetition of “Eres un pocho,” is a stinging reminder that Oshiro doesn’t belong—until the moment they break free of the term and their home, ultimately stepping into their identity as a queer, Latinx writer. There’s an undercurrent of survival in “Eres Un Pocho,” which sets the tone for the collection; these are stories about surviving, looking inward, and clapping back.