“Elegant and poignant, Finding Querencia animates the conversations about identity, belonging, and other embattled territories, but it is also about searching for grace and redemption among the ruins—and how the act of remembering is also an act of love.” —Rigoberto González, author of What Drowns the Flowers in Your Mouth: A Memoir of Brotherhood
“Like the subjects he explores, Harrison Candelaria Fletcher’s shape-shifting prose defies easy categorization. Form and language conspire to illuminate an identity as slippery and fierce as the elements shimmering in these essays. Finding Querencia is many things—a love song, a prayer, an exquisite haunting—but ultimately, this powerful collection is an act of reckoning and reclamation.” —Sonja Livingston, author of Ghostbread
“Finding Querencia dances between margins with prose that sings like poetry and lyric essays that shoot forward and backward in time even as they swirl, dervish-like, in the present. And this is as it should be, as Candelaria Fletcher explores—with confidence and an abiding uncertainty—his own identity as a person made up of differences.” —Nance Van Winckel, author of The Many Beds of Martha Washington
With its roots in the Spanish verb querer—“to want, to love”—the term querencia has been called untranslatable but has come to mean a place of safety and belonging, that which we yearn for when we yearn for home. In this striking essay collection, Harrison Candelaria Fletcher shows that querencia is also a state of being: the peace that arises when we reconcile who we are. A New Mexican of mixed Latinx and white ethnicity, Candelaria Fletcher ventures into the fault lines of culture, landscape, and spirit to discover the source of his lifelong hauntings. Writing in the persona of coyote, New Mexican slang for “mixed,” he explores the hyphenated elements within himself, including his whiteness. Blending memory, imagination, form, and language, each essay spirals outward to investigate, accept, and embrace hybridity. Ultimately, Finding Querencia offers a new vocabulary of mixed-ness, a way to reconcile the crosscurrents of self and soul.
Harrison Candelaria Fletcher is the author of Presentimiento: A Life in Dreams and Descanso for My Father: Fragments of a Life. He teaches in the MFA programs at Vermont College of Fine Arts and Colorado State University.
I White Out
II Origin Story
III Coyote Land
Of Ink Wash and Light
IV Altar of Leaves
Water for Roots
A Place She Goes
Altar of Leaves