When we at the Chachalaca Review were looking for an author to publish, someone who could fit in the with our theme of challenging reality, we heard of Vincent Cooper and his recently published book, Zarzamora, Poetry of Survival. After getting in contact with him, he sent us some excerpts from his latest book. What we found was a Xicano poet and wordsmith who finds meaning in the space that lays between life, death and family. Zarzamora is a fast hitting series of moments in time, vibrantly described snapshots that rip themselves apart, and rebuild in ways one could never imagine, that create a hauntingly beautiful portrait of humanity that lingers far after the experience is over.  Vincent weaves the truth of the world back and forth in such an engaging manner, it is as though the reader is right next to him on Zarzamora street. The poems themselves are a timeless reconciliation of life, death, destruction and creation. A vividly crafted reality, with a dose of magical realism injected straight to the veins, finding a truth more real than life itself. Through the chaos of family, love and loss, Zarzamora speaks a truth that isn’t afraid to walk in the shadows of dreams and nightmares. It is an acknowledgement that even the briefest of moments, seemingly forgotten, can skip and bounce from generation to generation. Vincent Cooper with Zarzamora, Poetry of Survival has gathered ashes from fires long since burned out, and used them to forge a diamond, one that shines bright in the sea of existence. A spark of light that stands among the best works of Xicano poetry today.