University of Wisconsin Press 2022
Tumbleweeds and wandering cacti litter the page, coyotes croon at the prose. In poems haunted by specters of intimate partner violence, Girl’s Guide to Leaving considers what it means to escape the love that trapped you and find a temporary home in the barely cooled ashes of a wildfire.
“A folklore troubadour, Villareal ably unfolds a path through memory. Running wild and running home, this guide isn’t just for leaving but rather for making space in sites where one can ‘witness local miracles’ or to tell a heroine’s story without remorse. This is a rangy and ambitious book.”—Carmen Giménez Smith
“Formally diverse, this collection wants to “tell you all hearts find good homes eventually” while moving through contrapuntals, prose blocks, and open field poems that articulate anything but statis, that articulate that perhaps the place we will find the most comfort for our hearts is in the act of forward motion, in the act of leaving.”—Chet’la Sebree