Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

Tickets are available for Graywolf Literary Gala in Minneapolis on September 19. For more details about the event or to make a gift in honor of our 50th anniversary, click here

Book Title

The Blue Mimes

Author 1
Sara Daniele Rivera
Poem Excerpt
My mom asked if a memorial poem
had to be sad. Adjective with tiny wings.
Maybe a memorial poem is the way
we document the sky to each other, saying, Look,
today the light breaks in five places and it is
so specific, so compositional, that it has to be
the person I lost the voice I lost the person
I lost speaking to me
in a new third tongue.
—From “Fields Anointed with Poppies”
Sara Daniele Rivera’s award-winning debut is a collection of sprawling elegy in the face of catastrophic grief, both personal and public. From the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election through the COVID-19 pandemic, these poems memorialize lost loved ones and meditate on the not-yet gone—all while the wider-world loses its sense of connection, safety, and assurance. In those years of mourning, The Blue Mimes is a book of grounding and heartening resolve, even and especially in the states of uncertainty that define the human condition.
Rivera’s poems travel between Albuquerque, Lima, and Havana, deserts and coastlines and cities, Spanish and English—between modes of language and culture that shape the contours of memory and expose the fault lines of the self. In those inevitable fractures, with honest, off-kilter precision, Rivera vividly renders the ways in which the bereft become approximations of themselves as a means of survival, mimicking the stilted actions of the people they once were. Where speech is not enough, this astonishing collection finds a radical practice in continued searching, endurance without promise—the rifts in communion and incomplete pictures that afford the possibility to heal.

Share Title

List Price
Publication Date
Publication Date
Trim Size
Trim Size
7 x 9
Winner of the Academy of American Poets First Book Award, selected by Eduardo C. Corral

About the Author

Sara Daniele Rivera
Credit: Photographer Credit / Eliade Novat
Sara Daniele Rivera is a Cuban Peruvian American artist, writer, translator, and educator. Her writing has appeared in The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext, Solstice, Waxwing, and elsewhere. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
More by author


  • “Rivera’s poems are beautifully and deftly crafted—some of my favorites, though, intentionally refuse sense-making, which infuses the book with a mesmerizing strangeness. I felt deeply the grief in this book. I felt less alone after reading it.”—Eduardo C. Corral, judge’s statement for the Academy of American Poets First Book Award
  • “Loss and mourning likewise haunt this debut, which mixes forms (sonnets, prose poems, lyric free verse) to plumb the dawn of Covid and a father's death.”—The New York Times Book Review
  • “Cuban-Peruvian poet Rivera’s debut collection navigates complex relationships between family and language against a backdrop of Trump-America politics. . . . Truly an exquisite first book by a promising new poet.”—Diego Báez, Booklist (starred review)
  • “This collection of 27 poems is bursting with sound and light, even as it reckons with a multitude of griefs, both personal and public.”—Sara Beth West, Shelf Awareness
Back to Table of Contents