Books

My Kill Adore Him: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009
 
“Like the poet’s native Chicago, even when violent or troubling, Paul Martínez Pompa’s poems risk beauty. His work possesses a fluidity that appears both effortless and well earned. His is a Chicago Renaissance of one—Gwendolyn Brooks’s Bronzeville and Carl Sandburg’s ‘city of big shoulders’ becoming a ‘city of broken lovers’ and ‘an entire city in your ears’ in Martínez Pompa’s capable hands. Playful and political and passionate, the poems in My Kill Adore Him mark an important debut, one you’ll surely adore.” —Kevin Young, author of Dear Darkness and For the Confederate Dead

This is an important book if we care about the lives of men, day-laborers, immigrants, factory workers, and those on the urban fringe who don’t get a fair shake.  And this is an important book if we don’t.  Paul Martínez Pompa knows how to write; these poems vividly evoke people and lives that urge us toward awareness and honesty and compassion.  Poetry can do no better than this.” —Valerie Martinez, author of Each and Her and Absence, Luminescent

“Paul Martínez Pompa deconstructs with a deft sword. Straddling literary strategies, no supposition nor paradigm is safe. He slays the stereotypic dragons within as well as without, putting popular culture, elegy, nightmare, personal narrative, identity and gender politics in the same hat, and drawing from the source, Martínez Pompa plays a poetic hand for keeps. Every turn of trope is more delightful than the last—a breakaway collection from an exciting new writer.” —Lorna Dee Cervantes, author of Drive: The First Quartet

 

Pepper Spray: Momotombo Press, 2006 

“Paul Martínez Pompa’s poems sizzle like Chicago on a sticky August night […] Paul’s longer poems are walking stories—some have wheels on them.  His shorter ones are the quick punches of a young and talented boxer whose ring is the white blank page […] In Pepper Spray images conspire to wreck havoc on the brain.  A lyrical train ride.  Palabras mañosas y peligrosas. You can go through hundreds of contemporary poems written today and not find any crawling this terrain […] I’m talking about poems that are scarred, bloody, horny, hungry, and pissed.  Don’t just read them once. Visit them several times. Some come at you sideways. When you least expect it. Sucker punching their way to existence. Can someone get beaten up by poems? I think I just have.” —Luis J. Rodríguez, author of Always Running and The Concrete River

 “Paul Martinez Pompa’s Pepper Spray illustrates how overtly political poetry can be written without any reliance on stereotypical language or placard-isms; rather, Pompa precisely defines the world we far too often turn away from with satiric humor mixed with a polite but firm slap in the face.” —Robert Vasquez, author of At the Rainbow

 

The Wind Shifts, New Latino Poetry: edited by Francisco Aragon, The University of Arizona Press, 2007

“This is one of the most outstanding anthologies of recent American poetry I’ve read in a long time.  Not a single weak voice in the book.”  —Lorna Dee Cervantes, author of Drive: The First Quartet

“In the hour of extremes, long live theses brave wordsmiths of American letters. Hallowed be the poets when the news is diffused in the name of sustoViva the citizens of truth.  Hallelujah the devotees of language, the languished souls enamored of the syllable.” —Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street

“As bombs fly across once-nations, once-human figures, once-sustained ecologies and stable polities, once-respected demarcations, whether in the Middle East, London airports, or on the Latin@ Page of Verse, all borders and once-bordered figures are now, by all means and purposes, ‘unidentifiable.’  Here, in Aragon’s diamond-eyed ‘expanded’ selections, in these opened-Americas, all we have to hold on to, if at all, the 25 poets seem to say, is a ‘singing’ in the vortex.  Here, then, listen to its bolero, its velvet howl.” —Juan Felipe Herrera, author of Half of the World in Light

 

Telling Tongues, A Latino Anthology on Language Experience: edited by Louis Gerard Mendoza & Toni Nelson Herrera, Calaca Press/Red Salmon Press, 2007

In this book about language experiences the contributors express their sentiments about language usage among U.S. Latino/as. Language gets straight to the heart of how they see themselves and interact with the world; the writings are highly personal and political at the same time. With the seemingly cyclical waves of anti-immigrant bashing, including direct efforts to block the usage of languages other than English, Latin@s are regularly targeted and labeled as outsiders. The writers in Telling Tongues speak against the simplistic notions upon which these public debates rely, and demonstrate the complexities of life as manifested in language usage by Latino/as. These authors also make tangible the effects of efforts to impose monolingualism and make clear that language practices are not just political but really at the core of identity. Readers will appreciate the diversity of voices speaking from different geographies and cultural heritages that make up the mosaic of being U.S. Latino/as. —Luis G. Mendoza and Toni Nelson Herrera, editors of Telling Tongues

 

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