Portuguese American Journal

Book |Quarantine Highway| by Millicent Borges Accardi – Editor’s Note

From re-definition to re-calibration, the poems in this book are artifacts to the early and mid-days of the pandemic. Though not specifically labeled as “Covid poems,” they strike to the heart of the universal yet individual struggles of solitude, confinement, justice, isolation and, ultimately, self-reckoning. The poems push and pull between the constantly knocking global news cycle to the stillness of a surreal inner world.

From the Back Cover (*)

Amid a global pandemic, the ceaseless wildfires of California, a political landscape of turmoil, Millicent Borges Accardi offers us a powerful collection of self-reckoning. In Quarantine Highway—Accardi’s fifth collection—the poems utilize repetition to both ruminate on and interrogate self and society, questioning the meaning and purpose of what we most often take for granted: the euphoria of memory, a trip to the Dollar Store, the intimacy of another’s touch, and the illusion of safety in what has proven to be an unsafe world where “death is sudden, cold or both.” What this collection offers is all that we can ask for, pray for, beg for, or demand, a praxis of survival perhaps in these uncertain times: “the sweet ride to anywhere, carrying the never-ending, hard-won secret of searching for who [we are].”

Ángel García, author of Teeth Never Sleep

    (*) Cover design by Ralph Almeida


“A collection that should be savoured on dark nights of the soul”

A.R.Salandy at Full House Literary

“Love is not a currency, neither is it an assignment,” we read in a poem in Quarantine Highway and are reminded of the ways of love and of survival. These poems are gems that glimmer with insight and truths, mostly about living under the specter of COVID with both fear and hope.

I love the poems in Quarantine Highway. Not just because the writing is crisp and fresh and makes me want to write like that, but more specifically because they tease, surprise, and play even as they deliver soulful and deep insights.

With an immigrant lens that defies and armed with a linguistic deftness that challenges, these poems grind against expectations and bust open the façade, the nuance, and go straight to the heart, to the mind, confronting our current realities, living with social distancing and face masks for protection and yet fearful and at the mercy of an invisible invader.  What a treasure trove!  Accardi hits all the right notes!

Norma E. Cantú

In Quarantine Highway, Millicent Borges Accardi guides us through the contemplative instances we explore in the loneliest parts of the pandemic with moving imagery and reminders of how to cope and recreate ourselves. In these poems, we reflect on healing, grieve on a lost year, dream of wildfires, and “tooth it out” beyond our anxieties of being undone. We pray to the “temple of our tragedy” and dance alone with small moments of liberation. Like breaking bread and memorizing trees, Accardi’s poems step past comets that blast loneliness and cracks in the sidewalk from our childhood in order to help us rediscover all the connections we’ve missed.

Juan J. Morales


About the Author

NEA fellow, Millicent Borges Accardi, a Portuguese-American writer, is the author of three full-length poetry books, Injuring Eternity (World Nouveau, 2010), Only More So (Salmon Poetry 2016) and Through a Grainy Landscape (New Meridian Arts Press, 2021). Among her awards are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), California Arts Council, CantoMundo, Fulbright, Foundation for Contemporary Arts NYC (Covid grant), Creative Capacity, Fundação Luso-Americana, and Barbara Deming Foundation, Money for Women. She’s led poetry workshops at Keystone College, Nimrod Writers Conference, Rhode Island College, Massachusetts Poetry Festival, Split this Rock, The Muse in Norfolk, Virginia, and the University of Texas, Austin. Notable readings at University of California at Riverside, Brown University, Rutgers, UMass Dartmouth, and the Carr Reading Series at the University of Illinois. She lives in the hippie-arts community of Topanga, CA. Recent poems appear in New American Writing, Laurel Review, Wallace Stevens Journal, TAB, and Quiddity and her non-fiction can be found in The Writers Chronicle, Another Chicago Magazine, Poets Quarterly, and Portuguese American Journal. Millicent lives in the hippie arts community of Topanga, California and founded two long-time reading series: ‘Kale Soup for the Soul’ and ‘Loose Lips’ (based at Los Angeles County Library).


Book Details

Author: Millicent Borges Accardi

Title: Quarantine Highway

Publisher: Flowersong Press

Publication Date: October 16, 2022

Language: English

Paperback: 106pp

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