Meanwhile by Cynthia Rodríguez
'Cynthia Rodríguez unflinchingly turns a mirror to self, to Britain, what it means to be a migrant, a citizen.
Fearful and fearless.'
This is a book about being trapped in the Meanwhile. Walking through seemingly perpetual journeys between borders, genders, nationalities and social status. As product of mixing races, yet not mixed race. Inhabiting a large body of before with no clear sense of an after. Set to a time of one’s own, decades lost and found in the way, at the mercy of socio-political circumstances, legal procedures and test results. Cyclically prone to fail and start again.
These poems are inspired by liminality and rites of passage we cannot come back from. They look at the new millennium, where the rituals of adulthood, of becoming, of making sense as a role model citizen and perceived pillar of society, are based on capitalist milestones of maturity and self-realisation which seem impossible to those stuck in the Meanwhile.
These respectability parameters are the ones accepted for those who are locked within the narrative of ‘the good migrant’, ‘the successful queer’, ‘the child prodigy’, ‘the perfect body’ and ‘the beautiful mind’; as if the only way to escape judgement and earn dignity as human beings within the margins is to fit into the media and government-approved stories of acceptance and assimilation at the right time, place and age.
Cynthia Rodríguez (Monterrey, 1986) is a Mexican-British writer and performer based in Leicester. International, intersectional and interdisciplinary, Rodríguez uses poetry to convey everyday realities that may remain untold in media, particularly on feminist issues, cultural and countercultural shock, rites of passage and self-preservation. Mouthy Poets alumna and DIY punk artist at heart, her work has been featured in several zines and independent anthologies, including Welcome to Leicester (eds Emma Lee and Ambrose Musiyiwa), the Black Flamingo Zine (eds Dean Atta and Ben Connors) and Do Something (ed. Selina Lock). On stage, Rodríguez has opened for renowned artists such as Lydia Towsey, Hannah Swings, Caroline Bird, Lauren John Joseph and Jamie Thrasivoulou.
‘This collection’s five beautifully drawn chapters, expose cruelties of political indifference and appropriated identities, whilst celebrating, uplifting, consoling and uniting – all via a backdrop of rich magical realism, protest and transformation. In this confident and important debut, Rodriguez draws on heritage, culture and politics to sing a Girl Electric – reframing and reclaiming a range of often marginalised experiences – to devastating, triumphant and compelling effect.’