Susto, Sugar, and Song: ire’ne lara silva’s Chicana Diabetic Poetics


  • Amanda Ellis



This article analytically traverses and closely reads a series of poems from Chicana feminist writer ire’ne lara silva’s 2016 collection Blood Sugar Canto, advancing the term “Chicana diabetic poetics” to describe a generic strain unifying lara silva’s poetic project. Shifting between Chicana feminist literary criticism, theories of decoloniality, and studies in the health humanities, this article argues that Blood Sugar Canto upends larger biomedical understandings of diabetes and its treatment by posing a call to treat susto (fear) and thereby elaborates ideas surrounding culturally competent and holistic healthcare practices. By imagining new healing modalities—fused by Chicana creative power and based on the tenets of curanderismo and the power of folk song—lara silva enacts a limpia (cleansing) by way of poetic song.