Sapello Son by Alejandro Lucero


by Alejandro Lucero

Editors’ Selection from the 2022 Frost Place Chapbook Competition

ships June 11, 2024

ISBN: 978-1-949344-51-6
Softcover, 42 pages.

*Consolidated shipping: If an order with multiple items includes a pre-ordered item, all items will ship together when the pre-ordered item is released. 


Fields of alfalfa turned into tufts of fire hazard from drought. The walls of a cold mobile home. A cut straw, stained ballcap, dirty carpets. These are the images that haunt Sapello Son, Alejandro Lucero’s lyric rekindling of a childhood in New Mexico and the landscape that consumed his parents. Lucero’s familiarity with the razor’s edge of choices foisted on those at the fringes keeps us teetering between profound devotion to family and sober recognition of the ways some families fail. Like its namesake, Sapello Son avoids sentimentality and refuses sympathy, asking us to reckon with the only things we’re born with: a place, a family, and a name.

Formally dynamic and audacious, the poems in Alejandro Lucero’s Sapello Son sprawl like the New Mexico landscape they inhabit— across memory, family, and the complexities of the body. In these poems, a mother sags “like a melting / candle” and an asteroid burns across the “cracked leather sky.” Here we have a poet of remarkable perception: his words unreel difficult notions of grief, masculinity, and addiction with reverence and risk.
—ALDO AMPARÁN, author of Brother Sleep

In Alejandro Lucero’s blistering collection Sapello Son we find a young man longing for connection. “My family together in one room,” he reveals, “I asked for warmth I could never gather.” Within the masterfully crafted interior spaces of home and the exterior landscapes of Sapello, New Mexico, I was overcome by the dual forces of addiction and natural disaster. Inside: “between the bathroom walls a cut straw plugged Mom’s nose.” Outside: a “wildfire smoked in oak-fueled flames” consumes most everything else. Even within that devastation the poems don’t suggest escapism from the places that have made us and unmade us, or with the family that has rooted us and left us unrooted. Instead, this stunning debut offers a “wild strumming [on] brittle cords,” a heart-rendering music however faint of a son’s hope for reconciliation.
—ÁNGEL GARCÍA, author of Teeth Never Sleep

From its opening pages, Alejandro Lucero’s Sapello Son shows us how our pasts orbit us, untouchable, burning and comet-bright. With poems so perfectly rendered at times I thought I was remembering instead of reading, Lucero charts addiction, poverty, grief, beauty, and so much more. Hammer to gong, these poems are irrefutable in the way they will shatter you, in how, when you read them, everything else falls away.
—TODD DILLARD, author of Ways We Vanish

Alejandro Lucero is a writer from Sapello, New Mexico. A 2022 June Fellow at the Bucknell Seminar for Undergraduate Poets, and former editor for Copper Nickel, his work can be found in publications such as The Adroit Journal, Best New Poets, The Cincinnati Review, The Florida Review, The Offing, and The Southern Review. He lives in Baltimore, where he is an MFA student in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and an assistant editor for The Hopkins Review.

Additional information

Weight .33 lbs
Dimensions 8 × 6 × .2 in


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