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
Reviews for Matadora
Every once in a while a poetry book bursts onto the scene—heavy with luggage tagged from all manner of airports—just begging to be unpacked....Matadora introduces us to a fearless new talent, whose voice is sure to be a significant and sexy siren call—compelling us to return again and again to the poems in this remarkably stunning debut collection."
"In Sarah Gambito’s first book, a world is reborn and so to accommodate it the speaker assumes just so many multiple elations, all of them daughters and sisters of the things of the world. These poems fly in from other countires. They blur the speed of prayers with alt.rock lyrics. In the poems continents reverse themselves as if drifting in amniotic fluid, lines of lineage re-emerge and voices in other languages adopt themselves to various new forms of speech. The speaker arrives from time to time. She is like snow. She takes short holidays. She smiles at birthday cards. She flits from Tagalog to East Villagese. She has a halogen stereo and waits for 'my late great Chachi.' She tries on her butterfly kite. Through all this, she is the breathless sum of her various accoutrements: crystal and sea-egg, a borealis, a lamp, a holidaypipe, a Paloma, a sister. A beautiful book."
"The poems in Sarah Gambito's first book, Matadora, are sheer juxtapositions of anything--star fish, Tagalog, frisson-- and the friction very often adds a political dimension to the poetic. Lovely!"
"When I read Sarah Gambito`s poetic debut, Matadora, I was devastated the way only poetry can bowl you over if you sit down for a minute and read with your heart and mind wide open….With her nimble, inscrutable poems, Gambito tells us: poetry is to talk to God, make God talk and then talk back again to God."
—Tamiko Beyer, chopblock.com