"Rios evokes the mysterious and unexpected forces that dwell inside the familiar."-The Washington Post"Ríos delivers another stunning book of poems, rich in impeccable metaphors, that revel in the ordinariness of morning coffee and the crackle of thunderous desert storms. In one sonnet, Ríos addresses injustice in the borderlands, capturing with mathematical precision the everyday struggles that many migrants face-'The border is an equation in search of an equals sign.' A series of sonnets about desert flora abounds with fantastic, magical imagery-'Bougainvilleas do not bloom-they bleed' and 'Apricots are eggs laid in trees by invisible golden hens.' Likewise, Ríos's bestiary sonnets overflow with inimitable similes, worthy of a book unto themselves-'Minnows are where a river's leg has fallen asleep' and 'Gnats are sneezes still flying around.' This robust volume is the perfect place to start for readers new to Ríos and a prize for seasoned fans."-BooklistIn his thirteenth book, Alberto Rios casts an intense desert light on the rich stories unfolding along the Mexico-US border. Peppered with Spanish and touches of magical realism, ordinary life and its simple props-morning showers, spilled birdseed, winter lemons-becomes an exploration of mortality and humanity, and the many possibilities of how lives might yet be lived.Mad HoneyMade from magnificent rhododendron, poisonous rhododendron,Very difficult-to-pronounce rhododendron-whateverRhododendron even is-I would have to look it up myself,This word sounding puffed up, peacocky with itsIndianapolisly-long spelling, all those letters moving in and out.But the plant itself, the plant and the bees that find it:The bees see in its purple flower, first, a purple flower.They do not spell it. They do not live in fear of quizzes,Purple offering what it has to offer, unapologetic, without furtherDefinition, purple irresistible to the artist's and to the bee's eye-Who can blame either one this first-grade impulse toward love?Purple, always wearing something low-cut . . . Alberto Rios is the Poet Laureate of Arizona and host of the PBS program Books & Co. He was a finalist for the National Book Award for his poetry volume The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body. He teaches at Arizona State University and lives in Chandler, Arizona.
Alberto Ríos explains the world not through reason but magic. These poems--set in a town that straddles Mexico and Arizona--are lyric adventures, crossing two and three boundaries as easily as one, between cultures, between languages, between senses. Drawing upon fable, parable, and family legend, Ríos utilizes the intense and supple imagination of childhood to find and preserve history beyond facts: plastic lemons turning into baseballs, a grandmother's long hair reaching up to save her life, the painted faith jumpers leaping to the earth and crowd below. This is magical realism at its shimmering best. The smallest muscle in the human body is in the ear. It is also the only muscle that does not have blood vessels; It has fluid instead. The reason for this is clear: The ear is so sensitive that the body, if it heard its own pulse, Would be devastated by the amplification of its own sound. In this knowledge I sense a great metaphor, But I do not want to be hasty in trying to capture or describe it. Words are our weakest hold on the world. -from "Some Extensions of the Sovereignty of Science" "Ríos is onto something new in his poetry, in the way that the real poets of any time always are." -American Book Review. Alberto Ríos teaches at Arizona State and is the author of eight books of poetry, three collections of short stories, and a memoir about growing up on the Mexican border. He is the recipient of numerous awards and his work is included in over 175 national and international literary anthologies. His work is regularly taught and translated, and has been adapted to dance and both classical and popular music.
National Book Award finalistAlberto Ríos explains the world not through reason but magic. These poems-set in a town that straddles Mexico and Arizona-are lyric adventures, crossing two and three boundaries as easily as one, between cultures, between languages, between senses. Drawing upon fable, parable, and family legend, Ríos utilizes the intense and supple imagination of childhood to find and preserve history beyond facts: plastic lemons turning into baseballs, a grandmother's long hair reaching up to save her life, the painted faith jumpers leaping to the earth and crowd below. This is magical realism at its shimmering best."Alberto Ríos is a poet of reverie and magical perception, and of the threshold between this world and the world just beyond. With humor, compassion, and intelligence, Ríos's poems overlay a child's observation and imagination onto our society of daily inequity, poverty, and violence. The light of memory shines on culture, language, family, neighbors, and friends saving them all in stories that become legends, a light so sensual and full it is 'swallowed into the mouth of the eye, / into the throat of the people.'"-National Book Award Judges' comments"Alberto Ríos is a poet of reverie... Whether talking about the smell of food, the essence of a crow or a bear's character or of hard-won human wisdom, Ríos writes in a serenely clear manner that enhances the drama in the quick scenes he summons up."-The New York Times Book Review"... Rios'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 the man you want to sit next to when it is time to hear a story."-Southwest BookViews"In The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body, Alberto Ríos doesn't borrow a myth. Rather, he finds the myth underlying his own life-myth that translates effectively because it is not confined by language. The images of Ríos' life are so vivid, it is as if he has written a picture book that anyone can understand."-The Home & News Tribune"In his new book of poems, Alberto Ríos has given us evidence and motive for celebration. Ríos' poems follow a path of wonder and gently move us to emotional truths that grab our breath and link our inner and outer landscapes. His alchemy works a transformation in the inner vision, turning us toward the deeper mystery of life itself."-American Book ReviewAlberto Ríos teaches at Arizona State and is the author of eight books of poetry, three collections of short stories, and a memoir about growing up on the Mexican border. He is the recipient of numerous awards and his work is included in over 175 national and international literary anthologies. His work is regularly taught and translated, and has been adapted to dance and both classical and popular music.
"In this rhapsodic series of poems, Ríos presents the story of Ventura and Clemente Ríos, a married couple living near the United States-Mexico border. . . . Ríos's project [is] indebted to magic realism but rooted in naturalism."--The New Yorker"Ríos creates the feeling of enchanted or intimate lore within a family [and] evokes the mysterious and unexpected forces that dwell inside the familiar."--The Washington PostNow in paperback, and following the success of his National Book Award nomination, Alberto Ríos' new book is filled with magic, marvel, and emotional truth. Set along the elusive southern border, his poems trace the lives and loves of an elderly couple through their childhood and courtship to marriage, maturity, old age, and death. Like the best of storytellers, Ríos charms his readers, making us care deeply--even love--these people we read. From "The Chair She Sits In": I've heard this thing where, when someone dies, People close up all the holes around the house- The keyholes, the chimney, the windows,Even the mouths of the animals, the dogs and the pigs.It's so the soul won't be confused, or tempted . . . Alberto Ríos, the poet laureate of Arizona, teaches at Arizona State University. He is the author of eight books of poetry, three collections of short stories, and a memoir.
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