In this spellbinding debut, Los Angelesâ€“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 scholarâ€™s caliber, Pineda archives family memory, crafting a collection that centers intergenerational narratives through poems filled with a yearning to crystallize a new worldâ€”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. Pinedaâ€™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 joyâ€”the mundane yet monumentalâ€”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.