Lineage of Rain
December 22nd, 2020
In this spellbinding debut, Los Angeles–born poet Janel Pineda sings of communal love and the diaspora and dreams for a liberated future. Lineage of Rain traces histories of Salvadoran migration and the US-sponsored civil war to reimagine trauma as a site for transformation and healing. With a scholar’s caliber, Pineda archives family memory, crafting a collection that centers intergenerational narratives through poems filled with a yearning to crystallize a new world—one unmarked by patriarchal violence. At their heart, many of these poems are an homage to women: love letters to mothers, sisters, and daughters.
Lineage of Rain moves from los campos de El Salvador to the firework-laden streets of South Gate to the riverbanks of England. Pineda’s masterful stroke weaves together these seemingly disparate worlds, illustrating the complicated reality of living as a first-generation student. As the speaker navigates elitism and the violence of the English language, she lays bare their ties to power. And yet, these poems rebel through revel, asking: how do we hold each other tenderly in a world replete with pain and many forms of violence? With dreams made possible through collective struggle, Pineda returns us to the seeds from which we bloom: family, history, and community. All the while, this collection never fails to capture often overlooked moments of joy—the mundane yet monumental—showing the reader that the world we dream is already ours. Through Lineage of Rain, Pineda emerges as a seminal contributor to the canon of Central American diasporic writing.