by Dominique Salas
$16 | October 2019
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In Unoriginal Danger, Dominique Salas traces a Latinx familial lineage of pain threaded through an account of the raped female body. Alternately numbed or distressed, her speaker maps a circuitous route from violence to reflection and on toward emergence. Salas’s use of linguistic and logical twists conveys the near-impossibility of reckoning with the state of being-looked-at. The speaker in an early poem asks: “Would I dare / untranslate applause / on which I’ve built my existence,” questioning her own desire to please the male gaze. This collection zaps with laser beam honesty, resisting a simple narrative of resilience. Throughout, femme strength reigns. “At times,” Salas writes, “I win.”
– Krystal Languell
Dominique Salas’s debut collection, Unoriginal Danger, is an account of sexual trauma and survival that offers testimonio in a wry but heartbreaking voice. The writing is both vulnerable and fearless in its inquiry of agency: “They say I was raped; rape happened to me; multiple men cycled through me like a revolving door; I am a survivor of a rape,” is a declaration in this brilliant and original first book’s study of female agency. This is a necessary addition to feminist literature.
-Carmen Giménez Smith
About the Author
Dominique Salas is a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She was born and raised in El Paso, Texas.