that’s what you get, by Sheila Maldonado

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that’s what you get
by Sheila Maldonado

Pub Date: February 1, 2021
Poetry, 98 Pages

ISBN: 9781936767595

Order Now Paperback: $16

Order Now Ebook: $9

Order Now PDF: $9

Here’s a fun fact: Honduras in Spanish means “depths,” which is relevant here, where the profound reveals itself on the poems’ surfaces, vibrating with sonic and electric currents. Maldonado thrills with the contradictions in New York City life, where the people, in mourning over another victim of police brutality, can take over a plaza named to honor a colonizer; where the laundromat offers communion and the subway a site for Emersonian contemplation; where laying on your couch very well may be the ultimate act of resistance; where you could be a Central American Quaker in a Caribbean borough grooving to an Icelandic dance queen’s DJing. Spunk, grit, the real deal, that’s what you get here.

Mónica de la Torre

Using humor, language play, and innovative visual strategies, Sheila Maldonado takes on the full range of human experience, from familial love to pain and grief in the wake of racial injustice—“history a fugitive in the womb. that’s what you get is a wild ride, a sensate ride, a ride of force and unflinching honesty. It’s also a reinvention of Frank O’Hara’s talking poems, but in Maldonado’s poems there’s something at stake, a steady beautiful rage brewing just below the surfaces.

Dawn Lundy Martin

Sheila Maldonado’s poems are imbued with her signature humor, self-deprecation, and truth, always. Her newest collection is full of beautifully languaged, clear-headed, intertwined tales of gentrification, family, and work, as both a poet and struggling teacher, threaded with themes of longing and belonging, the loss of love, an ongoing “resist/submit” exhaustion and rage, and the injustices and madness of our social and political times.

Lydia Cortés

Sheila Maldonado is the author of the poetry collection one-bedroom solo (A Gathering of the Tribes / Fly by Night Press). She is a CantoMundo Fellow and Creative Capital awardee as part of desveladas, a visual writing collective. She teaches English for the City University of New York. She was born in Brooklyn, raised in Coney Island, the daughter of Armando and Vilma of El Progreso, Yoro, Honduras. She lives in El Alto Manhattan. (Photo: Nikki Johnson)

Review in the American Poetry Review (print edition), by Spencer Reece: “If poetry is the most humble and vulnerable art, that is where the power of poetry lies. Maldonado exalts what is humble and vulnerable.”

Review in Latinx Project, NYU by Urayoán Noel: “Brooklyn-born Honduran-American poet Maldonado continues and expands upon the darkly funny meditations on urban life, pop culture, and diasporic belonging that made her debut…so memorable. Incorporating everything from a birth certificate erasure to photos of city life with hilarious yet unsettling haiku-like captions, Maldonado is still one of the coolest poets around–too cool for the Central American New York School of Poets, if there were such a thing.”

Review in Heavy Feather Review: “What you get is Maldonado’s inclination to frame the world in ways that command a level of patience and attunement to its subtle, radiant gestures.”

Co-Interview with Wendy C Ortiz, at Triangle House: “Since returning to the real world, I have learned about muting people on Instagram and snoozing them on Facebook. I am losing my eyesight more and more, always inside this damn phone. I do tire of the feeling of comparison and envy that social media creates. But I am intensely alone and easily addicted to things. I am phonely. I return to the gadget and the TV of my friends too easily.”


Sheila Maldonado is available for Zoom appearances in those classrooms teaching her book. Teacher discounts for paperback and ebook copies of that’s what you get are available by contacting Brooklyn Arts Press directly at