Octavio Quintanilla is the author of the poetry collection, If I Go Missing (Slough Press, 2014) and the 2018-2020 Poet Laureate of San Antonio, TX. His poetry, fiction, translations, and photography have appeared, or are forthcoming, in journals such as Salamander, RHINO, Alaska Quarterly Review, Pilgrimage, Green Mountains Review, Southwestern American Literature, The Texas Observer, Existere: A Journal of Art & Literature, and elsewhere. Reviews of his work can be found at CutBank Literary Journal, Concho River Review, San Antonio Express-News, American Microreviews & Interviews, Southwestern American Literature, Pleiades, and others. You can check out more of his visual work in Gold Wake Live, Newfound, and Twisted Vine Literary Arts Journal. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Texas and is the regional editor for Texas Books in Review. He teaches Literature and Creative Writing in the M.A./M.F.A. program at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. Find him on Instagram @writeroctavioquintanilla & Twitter @OctQuintanilla.
About the Work
When we first asked about featuring Octavio Quintanilla, we expected him to send new works of great poetry or some of his previously published works, what we got instead shocked our editors. It was a visually striking, look into the soul. A series of fast paced, wildly chaotic, frenetic works of visual poetry.
Visual poetry, is what could best be described as what happens when poetry has exceeded the limitations of the written word, it is what Alejo Carpentier would describe as an “exaltation of the spirit”. In Octavio's work ink and paint are splashed across the page, soaking through into deep pools of black. Finger and hand prints are scattered throughout. Rapid fire strikes run down the page pushing ink into the margins. Long gashes of ink ready to tear through the canvas, sit alongside straight edges creating these strikingly, haunted and pained images. The ink bleeds off the page, and permeates everything. Shades of black, rivers of ink. These are surreal dreamscapes and nightmares dissolving into one another. There is nothing clean or nice about it, only rough edges smashing against each other.
This is a series of ten pieces of art, which together create a tapestry woven out of the chaos of the inner soul. It is a cry out to the world, a cry of rebellion, a call for action, it is the vision of a poet, an artist and a creator who has reached into his inner most core and laid it bare for all to see. I encourage everyone to take a moment to view Octavio’s visual poetry. These are some of the rawest and most visually striking works of poetry I have seen. With that, I am very proud to present to you Octavio Quintanilla’s work.
- Robert A. Hinojosa