My first full-length book, published by Noemi Press in 2016.
Cut up and aggregate and mashup: made of language drawn from the multilingual chronicles of explorers / colonial agents who traveled through the land now known as the state of Texas. At the heart of the book is the mystery of the physical act of crossing a river. Purchase through Noemi or SPD Books.
Señalar las fronteras, investigarlas, cruzarlas, infringirlas, construirlas mentalmente. Levantar muros de lenguaje, fronteras de lenguaje, seccionar el lenguaje; transportarnos a través de mapas, apropiarnos de una exploración que, al habitarla junto con el autor, la volvemos nuestra: viajar. Viajar con el sonido, viajar con las personas trazadas en los mapas. La brillante experiencia de la transportación más allá del cuerpo, la transportación de la mente se activa aquí, en Ford Over. - Dolores Dorantes
Diving into old archives as if into bodies of water, John Pluecker has enticed back images and maps, words turned into cut-ups, wounds. Untranslating, he holds our hands and, gently, never forgetting our basic vulnerability, invites us to walk on page as if on land (or is it vice versa?). There is no innocence in land; there is no blank slate. Our feet always fall on footprints left by others; our words reverberate too with echoes of other voices, struggles, memories. Don’t read this book; walk on it or dive into it. Let it guide you as you, too, ford over. - Cristina Rivera Garza
In this book of many crossings over tangible line and graph, across khaki hills and ashes, to an anthem of river ford and bullfrogs, survive the encounters of an excitation left by a conspiracy of outsiders. Jean Louis Berlandier (ca. 1805-1851), of the Mexican Boundary Commission, unites with his namesake John Pluecker, contemporary surveyor, to dispose a location where the veins and arteries of the earth throb in a tangle of tongues, the “account of an undoing.” Here, lands are the residue of speculation, place names the wreckage of dispossession: “explorers of this that this” meet in “soonday sun [to] speckle [and] glisten in [the] gaping wound” that is the colonial ground for any chart of experience. - Roberto Tejada
As with so many superb compilations of poetry, Ford Over lends itself to quick reading or to in-depth unpacking, as well as to as much rereading as the heart desires. It hardly ever speaks directly about the focus of its text, and is made all the better for it. It allows a reader who might otherwise be walled off by their own assumptions to experience something beyond borders.
- John Venegas in the Angel City Review
Texts become rivers whose currents flow across pages; words engage in their own pilgrimages across digital scans of maps; an anti-glossary disrupts a translation project by erasing the words of the dominant language to leave the alien language in its native state unknown. Spanish and English live within the same poems, often coexisting without translation or corollary. These poems destabilize the power dynamics bound up in the very essence of our language-selves, and through these undiscoveries Pluecker does “teach [us] to ferry well.”
- Nathan Stabenfeldt in Gulf Coast Magazine