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Sylvia Sánchez Garza grew up in Weslaco, Texas, and now lives in Edinburg, Texas, with her husband, sons, and dogs. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and serving the culturally rich and beautiful community of the Rio Grande Valley. As a former teacher and a current school board member, Sylvia values education and is grateful for the opportunities that have been given to her. She holds a B.A. in English, an M.A. in School Administration, and a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies. Cascarones, a Coming of Age novel about the cultures and traditions of growing up as a Mexican American in South Texas, was her first book, published by Floricanto Press. It has won several awards, including a Literary Classics Gold Star, a Texas Authors Award, and a Literary Titan Gold Star. Garza is presently working on a YA novel as well as a poetry manuscript.

Published Works

 

  • Awaken! A Poetry Collection  

  • Cascarones, YA novel, published by Floricanto Press

  • “Ojo,” published in Living Beyond Borders by Penguin Teens 2021  

  • Boundless 2021

  • What They Left Behind: An Anthology 2021

  • “Attack,” published by Unique Poetry

  • “Delusional Dreams,” published by Covid Poetry

  • “Please,” published by Ice Colony, forthcoming

  • “Labores,” published by Ice Colony, forthcoming

  • “Dance,” published by Indian Feminine Review

  • “Remember,” published by ANA Magazine

  • “Spiritless Stone,” published by ANA Magazine

  • “Understand,” published by ANA Magazine

  • "September," published by eris & eros 

  • Wards Literary Magazine

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

  • March 16, 2019 Weslaco, TX Mayor Joe V. Sanchez Public Library  2 p.m.

  • March 30, 2019 - Brazos Valley Book Festival

  • April 20 - Edinburg, TX Museum of South Texas History 10 - 2

  • April 25 La Joya I.S.D.

  • April 26 STPA

  • 2019 - Galveston Island Book Festival

  • June 15, 2019 - McKinney Book Festival 

 

Cascarones

Sylvia Sánchez Garza

Cascarones is a young adult bildungsroman, a coming of age story narrated in a non-linear fashion that revolves around a Mexican American family living in the Rio Grande Valley in Deep South Texas.The main character, Suzy, as well as her family and friends are enriched by rich traditions and culture of the region, shaping who she becomes. There are many beautiful people depicted in this novel who helped transform Suzy. The narrative shifts from present to the past to connect readers with cultural traditions that changed through the years. It exposes how Easter was and currently is celebrated in the Rio Grande Valley and growing up during the sixties and seventies as a Mexican American amidst discriminatory undertones.

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  •  FORTHCOMING BOOKS

  • A Poetry Selection Book

  • A YA Novel

  • A Bilingual Chapter Book

 

Review of Awaken!

Post by Maxreview » 12 Apr 2022, 04:48

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Awaken!" by Sylvia Sánchez Garza.]

 

4 out of 4 stars

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Awaken! by Sylvia Sánchez Garza is a chapbook consisting of 26 poems. "Awaken," the poem from which the title of this book is derived; "La Flor," "La Luna," "Mr. Sunshine" and "Clouds," which are among those about nature; and "Soar with the Angels" are some examples of the poems included in this poetry collection.

I love the themes that the poems in this book navigate through. The themes range from the beauty of nature (like "Mr. Sunshine" and "Clouds"), the hardships of life (particularly in the poem titled "Labores"), the recent covid-19 pandemic (in "The Delusional Dream"), a tribute to George Floyd, and the beauty of inanimate objects like the piñata and the lifeless stone.

Out of all the poems, I found the poem titled "September" to be the most emotional poem in this book. The persona in this poem is recollecting memories about his or her late mother and wonders why she had to leave. In the poem, the persona remembers her saying that everyone has their day, and they'll one day have to depart from this earth, but little did the persona know that she was speaking about her own day. The persona also laments and asks questions like "why did it have to be just her?" I felt the persona's anguish and pain as I read the poem and realized that life is but a foam in the ocean that lasts for a very short time.

I also loved the nature-inspired poems like "Mr. Sunshine," "Clouds," "La Luna," and "La Flora" among others. Particularly, "Clouds" speaks about the transitions and transformations clouds go through. The persona describes them at one time as "white sheep gliding across the blue sky." In "Mr. Sunshine," the persona pleads with the sun to take a nap for a while. The time appears to be just before a drizzle in the early morning, and the sun is urged by the persona to hold on a little longer—since there would still be time later in the day to show its might. The persona is hopeful to see the rainbow should the sun listen to him/her.

Structurally, most of the poems in this book are free verses. They have an unpredictable rhyme scheme. Most lines and stanzas don't follow the rules or patterns in traditional poems. However, this is not to say that there is no rhyme. There are some rhyming lines, consonance, assonance, and alliteration within the poems, but I think they're more coincidental than a precedented composition. All the above reasons have allowed the poet to freely communicate his message and emotions. And speaking of emotions, the poems have a pack of them. The rich imagery used also helps in visualizing the poems better.

Since these are poems, some of the few errors I noticed could pass as using the poetic license for stylistic reasons. There is one poem I didn't understand, too. These are the only negative aspects of the book, but because of the overall quality of the book and the dexterity in which most poems were written, I'll give this book a 4 out of 4. Furthermore, there is nothing else I disliked. The book seems professionally edited to me.

I dedicate this book to all lovers of poetry who love image-rich and emotion-packed poems.

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Awaken!
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

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Awaken! A Collection of Poems

Reviewed by Lone Star Literary Life

Sylvia Sánchez Garza

White Bird Publications

Paperback, ISBN: 978-1633635562; 48 pgs.; $13.99

January 11, 2022

 

Infused with love and memories, Awaken! uncovers joy in moments of sorrow. The poet Sylvia Sánchez Garza dedicates this collection to her parents; her mother Elida Reyna Sánchez died in 2019 and her father Joe V. Sánchez in 2021. Grief-stricken, the author reveals that words overflow her mind, comparing them to water pouring from a faucet with broken handles. But she remains silent, knowing that eventually her “lost words/Will ignite and explode,” as they do in her poem “Words,” an expression of her emotional pain.

 

“Clouds” is a metaphor for those she misses. She watches them morph and move across the sky. “They grow, create themselves /and reunite with each other for strength.” Heartbroken, she acknowledges the anniversary of her mother’s death in “September” but feels her presence in the natural world and her grandbaby’s “silky-smooth skin.”

 

“Understand” is an internal conversation about “sacred shells,” bodies left behind at death. Sánchez Garza doesn’t understand those who look for loved ones in open coffins. She believes lives continue in the depths of souls, “where no one else can go.” She feels their spirits in the natural world, “…in the red, candescent cardinal /Perching on the windowsill.”

 

Her love for nature also comes through in the couplets of “Anacahuita” when she converses with an olive tree that she hopes will survive a freeze and in “La Flor” when she expresses gratitude for every moment. Her ode to “Mr. Sunshine” is set on a stormy day, but she encourages him to sleep in.

 

“La Luna,” about the moon, is another of her lyrical poems with s and w alliterations as soothing as lullabies. The first four couplets are lovely, but the rest of the poem detours to focus on a blue heron. In “Haibun: Meditating in the Backyard,” the poet combines a prose poem with a haiku. Sitting on a bench, sipping iced tea, she again reflects on egrets in South Texas:

 

Pure, angelic, birds,

majestic at water’s edge…

croaking a good night.

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