We Had Our Reasons, a groundbreaking new volume of poetry from Pulley Press, offers a startling look into an American community of Mexican farmworkers. Centered around the town of Othello, in eastern Washington state, this collection by Ricardo Ruiz was written in collaboration with his friends, family members and coworkers, many of whom are, or were, migrants. Ruiz—a decorated college graduate, military veteran, former farmworker and recovering addict—is a gifted poet whose work here ushers in a powerful new voice in American poetry.
We Had Our Reasons follows “the pulley,” a particular form of composition and production. First, Ruiz brought his passion for poetry and his community to farmers and their families, people whom he knows well in Eastern Washington, and he engaged with them as storytellers, encouraging them to document their own histories through interviews that he conducted. Then, Ricardo highlighted poetic lines in the transcripts, and worked with those to craft poems. When he had near-final drafts, he returned to the storytellers, asking for their permission to be on the byline with him and to approve the poems’ journey into print.
“Each volume brings us into a place far outside the poetry apparatus of America’s big cities and coastlines,” says McCue. “Pulley Press is interested in the images, psychology, music and artistry of poets working from places too often overlooked in our literary landscape.”