A Narco-Acid Western told in a series of interlinked poems, Soto’s striking debut collection follows the converging paths of two protagonists through El Sumidero, a fictional US/Mexico border town where an ongoing drug war is raging. The surreal verse of Soto’s poems portrays a bleak political climate as it coincides with the rituals of love & loss, culture & spirituality, & the quest for a better life at all costs. Following the narrative arc of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s classic cult film, El Topo, A Grave is Given Supper builds a world saturated with a mystical aura that describes the finite tensions & complicated desires of lives taking place in the borderland.
“The landscape in A Grave is Given a Supper recalls the tones of Frank Stanford, steeped with our phantasmagoric Texan borderlands. Soto offers up each poem like a votive candle, wreath of roses, or weapon, to lay on the altar of the outlaw Jesus Malverde, announcing the arrival of a new literary voice.” —Fernando A. Flores, author of Pig Latin and Stuck on a Razor
“Soto describes insects, femicide and the border wall in mystical terms.” —Jaime Dunaway, Advocate Mag
“A surreal exploration of the Mexican drug war written in free verse… While many poems traverse…dreamlike terrain, they’re also sometimes grounded in reality. This is where the book is most gripping and provocative.” —Tim Diovanni, Dallas Morning News
On Dallas Spleen and previous work:
“Soto drives a relentless narrative from poem to poem… a narrative composed of equal parts joy and rage.” —The Literary Review
“Soto eases into discomfort and renders it stunning.” —Katy Dycus, The Wild Detectives
“There is a deep, inescapable sadness in many of Mike Soto’s poems but it is a sadness for the world and never himself. It’s wrong to stereotype poets, even positively, but I think Soto’s Mexican literary heritage is deep in his bone marrow. It’s a rich, earthly, mystical tradition in which to have one’s taproots. These poems of light and life are compressed, but never crushed.” —Thomas Lux