To My Body (Glass Poetry Press, 2016)
Stunningly lyrical, Steven Sanchez’ poems explore profound questions of ethnic and sexual identity in context of social and cultural history. They search for authentic spiritual and physical connection, and they celebrate language in all its forms — including the intensely eloquent language of the human body. “I watched winter enter / and leave my body,” writes the poet, “transforming / words into something visible, / almost tangible, like Adam”s left / hand that will never reach God.” This is a beautifully transformative book. I will read it again and again.
— Corrinne Clegg Hales, author of To Make it Right
Photographs of Our Shadows (Agape Editions, 2017)
Steven Sanchez’s Photographs of Our Shadows is a moving exploration of queerness, brownness, family, and self-determination. Here, a young man learns from a bully what it means to be ‘a dark spot in the middle of the sun’; from a father, how ancestors become ‘scabs on your skin’; and from the Pulse Nightclub shootings, how ‘the truth /will hurt /will kill /will leave /an echo.’ Yet he also learns from a grandmother ‘how to tell the difference /between the pretérito and imperfecto, /between cantó and cantaba’; from a deaf lover ‘how the body speaks /without a voice’; and from himself how ‘there are several /ways to pray.’ This is poetry that lives, bleeds, struggles, and loves.
— Charlie Bondhus, author of All the Heat We Could Carry
In Photographs of Our Shadows, Steven Sanchez offers us more than just a look through his photo album. These poems are the honest and intimate histories of his snapshots. From Ancient Greece to the Pulse Nightclub, from the bar where he tried to touch his lover’s hand to the chicken coops from which his father was chased, Sanchez takes us where few poets dare: behind the skin, past the words of our craft, and deep into the heart. Race, sexuality, and faith come together with a visceral lyricism in these poems that dissect and then reconstruct the concept of family. ‘When two people worship,’ Sanchez writes, ‘you create a church/ no matter where you are.’ I, for one, am grateful to Steven Sanchez, for the chance to worship in the churches he’s built with these poems.
— Anthony Frame, author of A Generation of Insomniacs