“Antigua is a masterful writer and wrote a book that doesn’t care about treading lightly, but wants you to fully dive into the ocean of exploration; Ugly Music explores identity, sexuality, trauma, and survival.”
“Diannely Antigua’s Ugly Music is a book for our times—sardonic, self-effacing, sincere. The speaker is a bad feminist in the ways that we are all bad feminists—negotiating our desire for equality with the many ways we are imperfect.”
“By blurring the lines between holiness and danger, self-sacrifice and self-preservation, humor and heartache, Ugly Music pushes boundaries and asks us to re-examine what we think we know. But reflection only comes after setting the book down; to hold it and read it is to be swept along in its thrilling, disquieting melody.”
“Ugly Music is a book that seeks to engage with its themes at all levels, and with language that is clear, direct, and unapologetic, attempts to remind us that nothing is, nor should be, beyond poetry’s grasp.”
“Perhaps the loudest voice within Ugly Music is one that continually resists erasure and repeats emphatically: I am here. I am still here. I am alive.”
“In Ugly Music [by Diannely Antigua], the body desires, betrays, and makes everything possible, even pleasurable, despite the mind…These poems are irreverent, lucid, and intimate while staying in motion.”
JasMinne MenDez on 10 Afro-Latinx/Black Latinx Books & Poems you need right now
When I interviewed her for the Plátano Poetry Cafe series, Diannely described her work in the following way:
“My writing style is like a mother possum with babies on her back caught in headlights while trying to cross the road late at night. At first the sight is rather frightening--a cluster of beady eyes staring back at you, long rat-like tails following behind. But it then grows hauntingly beautiful when you realize even the weirdest of things exist on this earth and deserve to live. My poetry is like that, born out of strangeness with an instinct to survive.”
LUna LUna Magazine, POetry Weekly—DIANNELY ANTIGUA’s “IN SUBURBIA”
Do you need protection
or a father? When you stick your fingers
in the darkest hole, you feel almost feminine.
You tell the unborn to stay put.
LIttle Infinite, Body POetics: 11 Poets on the Body—DIANNELY ANTIGUA’S “DIARY ENTRY #16: ABOUT USING MY BODY”
Repeat after me: I am the ocean. I am a liver. I am
the bracelet on my wrist.
LIttle Infinite, 9 online Poetry Journals to read on a rainy Weekend Morning—Poetry by Diannely Antigua
If you’re into poetry, feminism, magic, and identity, the poetry journal I founded, Luna Luna, is your go-to. We are committed to diverse voices, diverse styles, and presenting poetry in a beautifully, aesthetically pleasing space. You’ll find all the new poetry right here.
Recommended reads: Poems by Diannely Antigua
“Diannely Antigua is a poet of experience, of the tangible world. She is the poet on Myrtle Avenue observing a man stealing strawberries from the fruit stand. She is a poet of things that ring with the past, surrounded by memories of This Old House and The Brady Bunch alongside those of molestation and pain.”
Antigua reflects on NECC’s role in shaping her career. “NECC saw me grow in insurmountable ways,” she says. “And I’m excited to come back and read from my debut poetry collection, ‘Ugly Music,’ which couldn’t have been possible without this community.”
Valdez talks with Diannely Antigua (c.) and Columbia University professor Deborah Paredez (r.), one of the founders of CantoMundo, at Columbia on Thursday.
In closing, Antigua told the winners she believes in poetry and its power. “I am a firm believer in the responsibility of art. It is the connective tissue of the world,” she says. “Poetry can be the blood, bringing life to that body. Poetry is big.”
Diannely Antigua was just nine years old when she began confiding in her journal. It's a literary practice that has served the Northern Essex Community College alumna well.