Portuguese American Journal

Book: ‘Through a Grainy Landscape’ by Millicent Borges Accardi – Editor’s Note

Millicent Borges Accardi adds luster to her acclaim as a leading poet of the Portuguese-American experience with a new collection of breathtaking scope. She inhabits the new artistic frontier in exploring what heritage means to those descended from immigrants long established in the place of their dreams—“a dark mixture of all I have lost.”

There’s wariness about the past rolling itself up like carpets for storing in tandem with physical and spiritual unmooring as a contemporary fact of life. Even tattoos bleed and run, and shopping centers where memories were made vanish in Accardi’s fusion of Luso/a saudade with her Californian sensibility. Revelations strike while shifting a car’s gears. Break-up poems and paeans to silence contain the warning that there “…are no strata to strike matches on” because everything is uprooted, from history to the rules for marriage. A lemon-colored dress floats in like an oracular reminder that a young waitress with large dreams can easily turn into the lifer-waitress dishing up peach melbas for twenty years.

Most astonishing in Through a Grainy Landscape is the range, from the son of immigrants frightened of abandonment or the ancestor storing her Disneyland A tickets under her bed (note the defunct pricing system and the wry, sad fact that “A” rides were the least lustrous) to our current unrest in these Plague Years. Our times call for a resetting of sensibilities: while housebound, we can “look for kindness.” If grief is “…shrapnel under the skin working a way out,” and women are expected to be “zany volcanoes” before they explode into invisibility, it could be that whole new ways of being are set to emerge. I’ll leave it to readers to discover how the poet frames this with an unforgettable image in the book’s radiant conclusion. (From the Introduction)  — Katherine Vaz, author of Saudade, Mariana, Fado & Other Stories, and Our Lady of the Artichokes and Other Portuguese-American Stories


This collection of poems is as lush and volcanic as the Azorean landscape, grounded in earthiness, rich with the yearning for the sea, and seasoned with saudade. –PaulA Neves

A vital book for those of us whose heritage is Portuguese, but it’s also an important book for American readers of every background and tradition. It stands as an esthetic bridge between cultures. –Frank X. Gaspar  


About the Author                                                                                            

Millicent Borges Accardi, an NEA fellow, is a Portuguese-American writer. She has four poetry collections. Among her awards are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, 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 lives in the hippie-arts community of Topanga, CA where she curates Kale Soup for the Soul and Loose Lips poetry readings.

About the Publisher

New Meridian Arts Literary Press, a creative community dedicated to publishing innovative literature and poetry that gives voice to original writers of talent and scope around the world. Through a Grainy Landscape has been nominated for a 2022 PEN award.


Book Details

Title: Through a Grainy Landscape

Author: Millicent Borges Accardi

Publisher: New Meridian Arts Press

Language: English

Publication Date: October 31, 2021

Paperback:106 pp



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