The Dangerous Shirt

Overview

"Discursive yet aglitter with images, often abstract and yet insistently regional, the ninth collection from the Arizona-based Rios includes something for almost everyone."—Publishers Weekly

"Wonderfully odd, sometimes sad, never predictable... Rios continually surprises us in the way he stretches the meaning of words, turning them this way and that." -- San Francisco Chronicle

“Ríos’s verse inhabits a country of his own making, sometimes ...

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Overview

"Discursive yet aglitter with images, often abstract and yet insistently regional, the ninth collection from the Arizona-based Rios includes something for almost everyone."—Publishers Weekly

"Wonderfully odd, sometimes sad, never predictable... Rios continually surprises us in the way he stretches the meaning of words, turning them this way and that." -- San Francisco Chronicle

“Ríos’s verse inhabits a country of his own making, sometimes political, often personal, with the familiarity and pungency of an Arizona chili.”—The Christian Science Monitor

“Alberto Ríos is... arguably the best Latino poet writing in English today.”—Prairie Schooner

Alberto Ríos’s new poems—magical wormholes through mundane reality—create an improbably true space where human bodies fall through floorboards, prickly feelings of limbs “fallen asleep” are stars buzzing under the skin, and ironed shirts hanging in a closet take on a foreboding sense of danger. Together they are a book of magical realism and cultural physics seeking the “also-moment”—the probable and imaginative directions a single moment might become. “Science may be our best way of understanding the world,” Ríos writes in one poem, “but it may not be our best way of living in it.”

The shirt in my closet is dangerous.
I shouldn’t have ironed it.

Because I have, I will put it on.
If I put it on, I will be dressed.

If I am dressed, I will be drawn toward the door,
The door and not the couch—the door . . .

Alberto Ríos is the author of nine books of poetry, three collections of short stories, and a memoir. He has taught at Arizona State University for over twenty-five years. His book of poems The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body was nominated for the National Book Award.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Discursive yet aglitter with images, often abstract and yet insistently regional, the ninth collection from the Arizona-based Ríos (The Theater of Night) includes something for almost everyone. A plethora of quiet poems explore such basic concepts as body and spirit, life and death, phenomenology and circumstance: "Night surrounds the sun as well, which tries every day// So hard to make us think otherwise"; "I am stuck inside the house of myself, my address... squarely in that place between// What I remember and what I can guess." Ríos also tries for a sort of Stevensian and slightly ponderous comedy: "I am the commander of the suddenly portly vessel of myself," begins a poem about overeating. Yet Ríos remains a writer alert to "the corners of the great American southwest,/ The orange and brown bricks, the lazy half-blue// Jacaranda," and a writer conscious of his own Mexican ancestry, especially as the volume nears its close. As general as these ambitious poems can get, they circle back to the locales, sounds and tastes that he and his family know. Their experience finally exemplifies the rhythms of Ríos' stable universe, "making the night into a nest/ Fixed and filled enough for what comes next." (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556592980
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2009
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 864,711
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Alberto Ríos served as the Arizona State Poet, teaches at Arizona State University, and is the author of nine books of poetry, three collections of short stories, an a memoir. His book of poems, The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body, was nominated for the National Book Award in Poetry.
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