Stories: Death and the Female Body

Carribean Fragoza on the brilliance of decay.

carribean fragoza
City Lights Publishers

Carribean Fragoza, the founding editor of Vicious Ladies, delivers a debut collection of short stories featuring Latinx characters on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border who grapple with imperfection and circumstances outside their control. From a toxic love affair to a mother who is slowly eaten by her daughter, Eat the Mouth That Feeds You straddles the surreal and the mundane, revealing the stark and violent realities that unfold in the lives of marginalized women.

This article appears in the Fall 2021 issue of Alta Journal.

How did you get the idea to depict death, decay, and other gruesome themes in such vibrant colors and textures?
I wasn’t really consciously trying to be gruesome or to gross people out when I was writing the stories. I was trying to write from a very embodied experience, which, I now see, some people find grotesque. The female body, in particular, is horrific to many, but in general, the body is a living organism that by definition will always experience death and decay, so I find it quite natural to delve into those aspects. But I do pay a lot of attention to color and texture in the gruesome, such as in bodily organs and fluids, and I do find something visually appealing in looking closely at them. •

City Lights Books


City Lights Books
Nasim Ghasemiyeh is an assistant editor at Alta Journal.
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