The border fence,The crossing chain links, the twisted wires:The fence is strung like two harpsAt cross-purposes,Two harps at the same time:One with its strings up and down,The other with its strings sideways.To make music this wayIs difficult. To hearThe song of the two harpsRequires someone ready to play.We are waiting.
“Muxica” from NOT GO AWAY IS MY NAME: by Alberto Ríos.
Published by Copper Canyon Press 2020.
Copyright © 2020 by Alberto Ríos.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Arizona State University
Alberto Ríos, Arizona’s inaugural poet laureate and a recent chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, is the author of twelve collections of poetry, most recently, Not Go Away Is My Name, preceded by A Small Story about the Sky, The Dangerous Shirt, and The Theater of Night, which received the PEN/Beyond Margins Award. Published in the New Yorker, Paris Review, Ploughshares, and other journals, he has also written three short story collections and a memoir, Capirotada, about growing up on the Mexican border, with a novel forthcoming, A Good Map of All Things. Ríos is also the host of the PBS programs Art in the 48 and Books & Co. University Professor of Letters, Regents’ Professor, Virginia G. Piper Chair in Creative Writing, and the Katharine C. Turner Chair in English, Ríos has taught at Arizona State University since 1982. In 2017, he was named director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.
“Alberto Ríos has always had a gift for restabilizing the personal universe in his poems, and his new book, Not Go Away Is My Name, is strong and deep as gravity… This is a border book, rural and urban at once, a pay-better-attention book, for all human beings who embrace one another, or think they relate to only a few. This is a major book for our time.”
—Naomi Shihab Nye for The New York Times
“This striking 12th collection from Ríos draws its energy from the space between active resistance and sturdy persistence… A vibrant attention to color animates even simple descriptions… This work captures Ríos’s singular voice at its best.”
—Publishers Weekly starred review
“An engaging mix of moods and tempos, the formal limitations of these verses prompt
the longtime poet laureate of Arizona to flex newfound creative skills.”