Paula Mendoza was born in the Philippines, and lived in Bahrain and Qatar, before immigrating to Canada when she was nine. Since then, she's made homes in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Austin, and Denton, Texas, before coming to Salt Lake City, where's she's currently finishing her PhD at the University of Utah.
PLAY FOR TIME: POEMS
Selected by Vijay Seshadri as the winner of the 2019 Gaudy Boy Poetry Book Prize.
Praise for Play for Time
“The poems in Paula Mendoza's Play for Time are unimpeachable in the rigor and mathematical clarity of their forms but are also round and rich and exfoliating with intuition, hesitation, self-questionings, and personhood. Everything about them—their image-making, their quicksilver intelligence, their ability to capture the movements of the mind—partakes of this double nature, this double consciousness, and by doing so rebalances and makes exquisite our human position.”
—Vijay Seshadri, Pulitzer Prize-winner, 3 Sections
“In these strange and unsettling poems, Mendoza catalogues how bodies become objects of consumption, voyeurism, and desire, and uses the imagery and politics of climate change to describe the immigrant and female body . . . Mendoza’s mordant, playful poems upend the ‘conventional’ narrative of racial and gender identity and radically rewrite our ideas of syntax to reframe the reader’s gaze.”
—Paisley Rekdal, Utah poet laureate and author of Nightingale
“Cerebral, sensual, utterly cinematic, Paula Mendoza’s book calls to mind the silken, glassy pleasures of backstrokes through the surface of observations by writers who raise the spectre of the eroticized body and strip it down to its political stakes."
—Divya Victor, author of Kith and Curb
“Play for Time snips narrative’s connective tissue, unravels arcs, knots, filmstrips, secrets, and viscera . . . She writes, ‘Of course I make it about the body. / What else will measure?’, and so this book is one such thrilling attempt to measure."
—Danielle Pafunda, author of Spite
Mendoza’s writing is at once a sublanguage and a superlanguage . . . You’ll turn this book over and over, unable to determine if it’s a weapon or a toy, undulant artifact from another world that is—thanks to Mendoza’s craft and force—now alarmingly and gorgeously our own.”
—Raymond McDaniel, author of The Cataracts
"A clever wordsmith with a canny perception of the layers of human emotion, Mendoza is a poet to watch."