LatinoLA News Service
Jun 28, 2020
In a world mispronouncing his name, or trying to define it for him, David A. Romero digs through his family history, his childhood memories, and stories of working people, to create his own meaning for his family's name. The result: his third full-length collection of poetry, My Name Is Romero, published by FlowerSong Press of McAllen, Texas.
The book features cover art by artist Sonia Romero, David A. Romero's cousin, known for her printmaking, mixed media linocut prints, murals, and public art based in Los Angeles.
Featured writer for The Los Angeles Times, and author of ¡Ask a Mexican!, Gustavo Arellano, says, "Say his name: Romero. A vibrant Southern California voice whose evocative lines on the East L.A. Classic, burritos, immigration, love, and life sparkle as much as 4th of July fireworks in the 'hood."
In My Name Is Romero," Romero challenges his own prejudices as well as those of outsiders, as to what it means to be Mexican-American and Latinx.
Ethnic Studies professor at the University of California, San Diego, and author of University Babylon Curtis Marez, says of the book, "At turns lyrical and epic; bitingly funny and achingly melancholic, this shining collection of poems beautifully expresses how so many of us live now--wrestling with language and identity, history and politics. Welcome to the new Latinx poetics."
Comprised of four different sections: My Name Is..., Flowers, Beloved, and Etymology, My Name Is Romero ranges from the political to the personal, with a scope both intimate and epic. The poems often shift in both style and tone.
This constant shifting relates to Romero's pocho, outsider, identity as a white-passing Latino proud of being Mexican, but often accused of "not really being Mexican."
Ulises Bella of Ozomatli says, "Ni de aquí, ni de allá (not from here, not from there) is a saying and a dynamic that many of us Latinx/Chicano/Hispanic people struggle with. David tackles this theme and the complexities of how this mindset effects not only the personal, but also our role, or perceived roles, in modern America."
Yolanda Nieves, associate professor at Wilbur Wright College and founder of Vida Bella Ensemble says of My Name Is Romero, "It's an informed, intrepid, and at times, painful revelation of thoughts and dialogue that lie unspoken in our brains and amongst many Latin@/xs, and in Latin@/x communities."
According to Romero, "My Name Is Romero is the product of over a decade of writing. This is the best and most important writing I've ever done. The writing about my identity, about internalized racism, about pride. It's also a book about working people. A book about those people who wake up each dark morning to provide, like the ones before them did. And I know that's not the story of all of us. But it's part of our story. An important part. It's a story we have to keep telling."
As a spoken word artist, motivational speaker, and workshop instructor on everything from writing and performance techniques to social justice issues, David A. Romero has performed at nearly a hundred college campuses in thirty different states in the country.
Romero hopes to go on tour with the book, but if the pandemic and quarantine prevent it, he hopes people will still decide to buy it through his publisher FlowerSong Press and his various social media accounts.
"I don't know if I would call My Name Is Romero 'essential.' But I hope other people will. It's entertaining. You'll like it. You should probably buy it."