Publishers Weekly, Reviews and Testimonials

“Santa Barbara Poet Laureate Melinda Palacio, whose new piece is an eloquent prayer and lament for migrant children, and a quest to “redeem them.” “On the river, we will float on a song,” Palacio intoned, resonating with the musical surroundings at the Luke.” –Josef ¬†Woodard, Santa Barbara Independent¬†

Publishers Weekly Review

Ocotillo Dreams

Melinda Palacio

Accomplished poet Palacio seamlessly transitions to fiction in her debut novel about identity, stereotypes, and prejudice in a Phoenix suburb. Isola leaves her San Francisco home and university community to claim the house in Chandler, Ariz., she inherited after her mother’s death. Long estranged, Isola is unfamiliar with her mother’s life, except for a monthly postcard of a blooming ocotillo cactus that proclaimed dreams came true in Chandler. Isola is startled to find a man, Cruz, asleep in the kitchen, whom she learns he knew her mother well and was one of many undocumented immigrants her mother (as a part of her work with Rescate Angeles) had helped cross the border, learn English, and find work. Additional surprises await Isola when new visitors arrive, slowly revealing the mother she never really knew. Palacio’s poet’s eye reveals a vibrantly painted desert culture of fragile beauty and uncompromising harshness. (July)


Chris Fisher, ForeWord Review

“To put a human face on, and show the intricate complexities of, an overly generalized political talking point is no mean feat, and Palacio manages it with grace, style, and utmost care. Ocotillo Dreams is a must-read for anyone truly wishing to gain an inside perspective of immigration and what it means to those on both sides of the border. Here is a case where in fiction, one finds truth.”

Chris Fisher, ForeWord Review

Scholarship on Melinda Palacio and water sustainability in her poetry Arizona University Poetry Center