Reviews for Delivered
I play on my america xylophone/ and the kids drop peach hat by aching peach hat,” says Gambito midway through one of the giddy, fragment-filled, enthusiastic, sometimes flirtatious odes and self-portraits of this second collection, attendant simultaneously to Gambito's Filipino-American heritage and the outlook of 21st-century youth. “I am the new bathing suit that I am,” she declares in “Immigration,” one of a few poems by that name: this one takes an epigraph from the Egyptian Book of the Dead and an interlinear exclamation from the Filipino language Tagalog. Gambito (Matadora) evokes a carnival of multiethnic references, intuitive leaps and fiery existential queries: “I like God alright but I don't understand anything he's talking about.” Gambito also excels in one-line stanzas, in long knockout titles (“A Borderless Ethos Would Please Everyone”) and in dreamy one-paragraph prose poems. Yet if such forms make her seem solitary or disconnected, her topics make her memories, and her loyalties, multiply clear: “You were born here. I was born there.”
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The poems in this second collection (after Matadora) are as much about language as they are about Gambito's Filipina heritage: "Eventually the children picked up English in school. The English was cool and light like a puppy but more useful" ("The Puppy"). If disjunction is a way of talking about or re-creating immigrant experience, these poems "deliver"-that is, provide and lead us out of-the incoherences built into cultural transplantation. They are surrealistic, fierce, and playful. Words are strange toys with movable parts, so that we find an "assailed/father/feather" in "Getting Used to It" and "beer battered novels" in "Your Mama's Rich, Your Daddy's Good Looking." ...Something real is also being born in these poems; something is delivered from captivity, perhaps language itself.
--The Library Journal