Bone & Juice
Adrian C. Louis Northwestern University Press, 2001 Library of Congress PS3562.O82B66 2001 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Adrian C. Louis's largely autobiographical verse is characterized by a bluntness born of self-irony and self-criticism. He attacks his subjects with an emotional engagement that is both tender and honest. Within the context of fallen ideals and lost spirituality among Native Americans, he composes elegies for his mentally disabled wife and describes scenes from "Cowturdville", his name for the town near a reservation where he lived. Mesmerizing the reader with the rhythm of his lively lines, Louis demonstrates a stylistic strength that is both accessible and demanding. His candid portrayals of Native American life and his social and moral critique of American consumerism and conformity are darkly hilarious odes to the cultural boundaries between Americans and Native Americans.
Adrian C. Louis Northwestern University Press, 2006 Library of Congress PS3562.O82L64 2006 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Finalist, 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry
In a torrent of rage, love, and irony, Adrian C. Louis explodes all the myths and hypocrisy of Middle America in the twenty-first century. This is how Walt Whitman or Allen Ginsburg might have written about our post-9/11 world--where the realities of poverty on Indian reservations and the plight of Hurricane Katrina victims come in second place to the vagaries of Homeland Security. For Louis, both he and our nation face an uncertain future. Like many of us he is trapped in a surreal void of the present, where he is faced with middle age and isolation, the death of loved ones, an unsatisfying job, and the battle against loneliness and self-destruction. He writes as if he has nothing left to lose but then fills the page with bittersweet sorrow for everything that has been lost. Armed with unforgettable images, relentless rhythms, and a dark and scathing humor, Louis takes aim at this American life.
This is an anthology of poems in the Age of Trump—and much more than Trump. These are poems that either embody or express a sense of empathy or outrage, both prior to and following his election, since it is empathy the president lacks and outrage he provokes.
There is an extraordinary diversity of voices here. The ninety-three poets featured include Elizabeth Alexander, Julia Alvarez, Richard Blanco, Carolyn Forché, Aracelis Girmay, Donald Hall, Juan Felipe Herrera, Yusef Komunyakaa, Naomi Shihab Nye, Marge Piercy, Robert Pinsky, Danez Smith, Patricia Smith, Brian Turner, Ocean Vuong, Bruce Weigl, and Eleanor Wilner. They speak of persecuted and scapegoated immigrants. They bear witness to violence: police brutality against African Americans, mass shootings in a school or synagogue, the rage inflicted on women everywhere. They testify to poverty: the waitress surviving on leftovers at the restaurant, the battles of a teacher in a shelter for homeless mothers, the emergency-room doctor listening to the heartbeats of his patients. There are voices of labor, in the factory and the fields. There are prophetic voices, imploring us to imagine the world we will leave behind in ruins lest we speak and act.
However, this is not merely a collection of grievances. The poets build bridges. One poet steps up to translate in Arabic at the airport; another walks through the city and sees her immigrant past in the immigrant present; another declaims a musical manifesto after the hurricane that devastated his island; another evokes a demonstration in the street, shouting in an ecstasy of defiance. The poets take back the language, resisting the demagogic corruption of words themselves. They assert our common humanity in the face of dehumanization.