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Stunning, highly original poems that celebrate the richness of the author's multicultural tradition, Teeth explores loves, wars, wild hope, defiance, and the spirit of creativity in a daring use of language and syntax. Behind this language one senses a powerful, inventive woman who is not afraid to tackle any subject, including rape, genocide, and love, always sustained by an...

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Stunning, highly original poems that celebrate the richness of the author's multicultural tradition, Teeth explores loves, wars, wild hope, defiance, and the spirit of creativity in a daring use of language and syntax. Behind this language one senses a powerful, inventive woman who is not afraid to tackle any subject, including rape, genocide, and love, always sustained by an optimistic voice, assuring us that in the end justice will triumph and love will persevere.

you be the reason why
we swagger & jive,

lift the guitar, & pick up the axe.
when it is i tilt my hat to the side,
wearing colors & perfumes, it's cause, love,
you did it to me. oh,
you do sure turn my tongue to fiddle,
& make the salt taste sweet. man,
i don't need a rooster, or peacock even,
to help me spend my time, nope,
just you, love, right & solid as
a line.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781931896368
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2007
  • Pages: 110
  • Sales rank: 301,837
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Aracelis Girmay, raised in southern California, is the inheritor of Eritrean, Puerto Rican, and African American traditions. A writer of poetry, essays, and fiction, her poems have appeared in numerous journals and magazines. She leads community workshops in New York and California.

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Table of Contents

Foreword   Martin Espada
Arroz Poetica     1
Jacaranda     7
After Lightning, I Dream of Abrigette     8
Santa Ana of Grocery Carts     9
Ode to the Brain     11
Ode to the Watermelon     12
Sudan     14
Palimpsest     16
Adisogdo's Song     18
Ride     20
Then Sing     21
Here     24
To the (Heart) Horse     31
Astigmatism     32
Conjugation     33
The Piano     35
Teeth     37
Consider the Hands that Write this Letter     38
13     40
Snail, or, To a House     41
Hyena, Hyena     43
Cyclops Mary (I)     44
Cyclops Mary on the Avenue, A Monologue (II)     45
The Incredible Story of Mother Mom & the Daughter Who Was Taken by Crows (As Told by the Oldest Girl)     47
Zouk     51
Ish     52
Aunt Margaret, Tree of Blackbirds, Tree of Oranges     54
Chernobyl     59
In the Cane Fields     60
Limay, Nicaragua     61
What Brang MeHere     62
But When They Go to Light the Fire on Me     63
Lazaro, for Don Tranquilino     64
Lazrus & Girlie Speak of Rising a Hundred Days After Lazrus' Death     65
Ghazal     67
Tucutu Tan     69
Invocation     73
Antinion     76
Scent: Love Poem for the Pilon     81
The Dog     82
Ode to the Letter B     84
For Estefani Lora, Third Grade, Who Made Me a Card     86
Monologue of the Heart Pumping
Blood     90
Fiel     92
Love     93
The Photograph of Esther Ruth & {lcub}Cisco{rcub}     94
What Faith to Be this Kind of Fish     95
For the Psychic at Broadway & 207th     97
To the Child I Met Without Knowing the Story     99
The Rain at Dzorwulu     101
Litany     103
Epistolary Dream Poem after Finding a Schoolbook Map     105
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2007

    An Excellent Collection of Politically and Personally Charged Poems

    Aracelis Girmay¿s well-received debut book of poems, TEETH 'Curbstone Press, ISBN: 978-1-931896-36-8, $13.00', deals with a wide range of topics, from war and exploitation to love, peace, and healing. Martín Espada penned the introduction to the book, describing Girmay as ¿deeply involved with the world, and her poetry articulates a passion for that world in spite of- or because of- its failings.¿ The first poem in the collection, ¿Arroz Poetica,¿ responds to the crisis of the current U.S. war with Iraq. She breathes life into the Iraqi dead, giving names and lives to those caught in the unnecessary crossfire. Girmay strips away abstract political propaganda, exposing the need to consider ethics, humanity, and ultimately reality when dealing with international relations. Girmay answers the question of who the ¿enemy¿ is: ¿They wear ball gowns & suits & rings/ to talk of war in neat & folded languages/ that will not stain their formal dinner clothes/ or tousle their hair.¿ She makes a clear distinction between those who ¿ordered the missiles¿ and those who ¿lose their children¿their houses & their streets,¿ offering sentiment and empathy to those who have gone altogether ignored, despite their anguish and sacrifice. Girmay writes of other unacknowledged tragedies in the world, addressing the inhumane treatment of those suffering in Darfur, as well as issues of race and sexual exploits that ring with a distinct universality. She celebrates her multicultural heritage 'Eritrean, Puerto Rican, and African American', infusing strength and courage into characters dealing with a great degree of mental and physical oppression. In ¿Cyclops Mary on the Avenue, a Monologue,¿ her title character responds to degradation by exploring her own beauty and that of the world around her, while examining her persecutor with pity and resilience. The aesthetic and aural qualities of language are celebrated in her artful, musical poems ¿Ode to the Letter B¿ and ¿For Estefani Lora, Third Grade, Who Made me a Card.¿ Mastering Sounds and playing with meanings, Girmay shows her immense skill and careful diction. One of the best poetry collections I have ever read, TEETH transports the reader into a world in which despair is acknowledged and explored, but ultimately hope reigns.

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