Tropico, Marcela Huerta’s debut collection of poetry, tackles grief, memory, and the experiences of a second-generation immigrant. The daughter of political refugees from Chile, Huerta shares memories of her recently departed father, who becomes a symbol for Chilean culture and leftist resistance after his passing. Through the intimate detailing of everyday occurrences, Tropico reveals how intergenerational trauma disrupts childhood and lays bare the lived effects of American imperialism.
First edition, second printing
Cover art | Sidney Masuga
ISBN | 978-1-988355-07-8
“Marcela Huerta sifts through crumpled photos, family stories, and the past—both remembered and imagined—that tethers her to another place, scented by terror and sorrow. In these beautifully observed poems, the mundane and the cataclysmic tumble together, burnishing a daughter’s grief. With exquisite tenderness, Huerta writes her father back into being.”
– Kathleen Oliver, author of Swollen Tongues
"Huerta clearly describes the ambivalent love one can have for a father, the back and forth between being proud of a parent but having to protect yourself from them, between being at once always too close and always too far. Huerta's words never try to reconcile this attraction and repulsion. Instead, they let them both exist in the complexity of grief, like blunt and rational facts, creating a vibrant homage to her father."
– Julie Delporte, author of Journal and Everywhere Antennas
Marcela Huerta was born in Victoria, BC. She was raised speaking Spanish, and grew up in subsidized housing with her sister and mother. Both of her parents were political refugees displaced by the 1973 Chilean coup who met and married in Winnipeg in the late ‘70s. She attended Emily Carr University, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Design, and was shortlisted for several design awards, including the 2011 Applied Arts Redesign, the 2014 Gestalten Creative Pool Spotlight, and the 2014 Hiiibrand Awards. After working as a design intern at the Satellite Gallery and Museum of Anthropology, she held positions as a Junior and Mid-Level Designer at Working Format and Free Agency Creative, respectively. She then moved to Montreal, QC, where she worked with graphic novel publishing house Drawn & Quarterly, first at their flagship store, then at their headquarters as a Production Assistant and Assistant Editor with their Editorial Department. She now works as a freelance graphic designer and author, and is based in Montreal. Tropico is her first book.
REVIEW | Drawn & Quarterly Staff Picks 2017 | Alyssa | "Tropico is all the best parts of the memoir, the poem, and the short story. Marcela has crafted a careful but uncompromising testament to how families can at once soothe and hurt each other, and how one can hope to cope with that lasting pain."