Jacob Shores-Arguello grew up in the United States and in Costa Rica. He is the recipient of the Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship in Provincetown, the Dzanc Books ILP International Literature Award, and a Fulbright Fellowship to Ukraine.
“Shores-Arguello chisels a lyric passage to a world remote in time and circumstance, bounded in the north by the Exclusion Zone surrounding Chernobyl’s dead reactor; to the east, the Dneiper; and to the west, Lviv. This is a twenty-first-century poetics, one world seen through another: Ukraine through the poet’s other ancestral wellspring in the isthmus of the Americas. It is a journey at once forward and back, and throughout we are guided by a ‘map of a ghost country.’ It is a language that dares to ‘cross the impossible river.’ Life seems what it always was, timeless and eternal. But then the present detonates and we realize where we are and why nothing will be the same. An amazing and heretofore most unexpected book!”
“In these beautiful poems, the borders between times blur, the edges between places dissolve. Shores-Arguello, who grew up in Oklahoma and Costa Rica, writes so convincingly, so lovingly and specifically, of Ukraine, his poems enlarge not only our sense of that world but also—wonderfully, miraculously—our sense of ‘the world beyond that world.’ Here is a poet who ‘lives without boundary.’ This is a book of great scope and of great intimacy, a book of myriad pleasures. It’s the best first book of poems I’ve read in a long, long time.”
“This is the sort of book that investigates deeper into the lives of others, to find poetry there, to find meaning, to find strangeness that is all our own. So what do we find here? I found how ‘betrayed by quiet, we do not pray to darkness. We demand.’”
Southern Illinois University Press