The debut poetry collection by Cynthia Rodríguez.
Out now on Burning Eye Books.

Cynthia Rodríguez unflinchingly turns a mirror to self, to Britain, what it means to be a migrant, a citizen. Fearful and fearless.

Dean Atta

Cynthia has a profoundly distinct voice which, coupled with their razor-sharp insightful view of the world has created a beautiful, heart breaking and hilarious collection of poetry.

Jess Green

This is a book about being trapped in the Meanwhile. Walking through seemingly perpetual journeys between borders, genders, nationalities and social status. As a product of mixing races, yet not mixed race. Inhabiting a large body of before with no clear sense of an after. Set to a time of one’s own, decades lost and found in the way, at the mercy of socio-political circumstances, legal procedures and test results. Cyclically prone to fail and start again.

These poems are inspired by liminality and rites of passage we cannot come back from. They look at the new millennium, where the rituals of adulthood, of becoming, of making sense as a role model citizen and perceived pillar of society, are based on capitalist milestones of maturity and self-realisation which seem impossible to those stuck in the Meanwhile.

These respectability parameters are the ones accepted for those who are locked within the narrative of ‘the outstanding migrant’, ‘the successful queer’, ‘the child prodigy’, ‘the perfect body’ and ‘the beautiful mind’; as if the only way to escape judgement and earn dignity as human beings within the margins is to fit into the media and government-approved stories of acceptance and assimilation at the right time, place and age.

Through these pages, we embrace the Meanwhile, and we embrace ourselves to get ready for whatever comes next.

Rodríguez uses both formidable composition, weaving layer complexity with accessible lyrical language to challenge the approved narrative of what a migrant must do to be accepted, humanising in its approach. Sharp and bright, Meanwhile is a devastatingly moving book I highly recommend.

Nikita Gil, Jhalak Prize Books We Love

Following in the Latin American tradition but (dis)placed in contemporary Britain, Cynthia Rodríguez cleverly blurs the lines between playful kitsch, deadpan humour and lightning flashes of poetic revelation.

Juana Ádcock

In this confident and important debut, Rodríguez draws on heritage, culture and politics to sing a ‘Girl Electric’ – reframing and reclaiming a range of often marginalised experiences – to devastating, triumphant and compelling effect.

Lydia Towsey