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Lucky Fish April 23, 2011: Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s third book, recently released by Tupelo Press (which also published Miracle Fruit and At the Drive-In Volcano) affirms her reputation as one of the master miners of the curios fact in science, history, nature and culture. With unparalleled ease, she’s able to weave each intriguing detail into a nuanced, [...] by

“Bookjoy!” April 21, 2011: I’m borrowing poet Pat Mora’s favorite expression, and riffing from Javier Huerta’s list entry, although my list will be shorter and I’ll also add a few words of praise about these, my favorites books. Wish Huerta had done the same... ouch! (Much love, Javi, you know I think you’re mad-cool, mi osito de peduche, my laughing [...] by

I Aspire to Kwame-ness (Ode to the Desk) April 17, 2011: Prolific output is my weakness, and writers who can crank out poems, pages, chapters, books are my inspiration. They mirror my hunger for more of anything literary, they represent the labor hunched over the desk — backaches, neck pain, the late night struggle of kicking sleep off the face. But, oh what sweet pleasure. Besides Kwame Dawes, [...] by

Red Clay Weather April 15, 2011: Reginald Shepherd (1963-2008) A former Harriet poet, Shepherd’s sixth collection was published posthumously by the University of Pittsburgh Press earlier this year. Though this is Shepherd’s work, the book was edited and structured by his partner Robert Philen. I felt it was more than appropriate to respond to the book as a tribute to a [...] by

Rojo Que Te Quiero Rojo April 11, 2011: Gillian Conoley’s prompt has stayed with me since she first posted the question about the poet’s palette. It merits a more creative approach to a response. Since my forthcoming book is called Black Blossoms I guess the answer is an easy one for me: my palette’s colors are dark, always have been--black, blood-red, bruised blue. The lens, [...] by

Nuyorican, Nuyorexican April 9, 2011: I spent the last few days at the Latino Literary Imagination Conference at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, among a community of humanities scholars who have been steps ahead of what the 2010 census revealed: that Latinos are the largest minority in the United States, that soon we will be the majority. Latino intellectuals and artists [...] by

Dhaka Dust April 7, 2011: Dilruba Ahmed’s debut collection of poems Dhaka Dust (Graywolf Press, winner of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Prize, selected by Arthur Sze) arrived to my book reviewer’s desk a few weeks ago. It is set to be released in June, but I wanted to make a special mention of it on Harriet during National Poetry Month. As I leafed [...] by

Casa Pequeñita April 4, 2011: I’m thrilled to see some of my favorite people on Harriet — Ada, Barbara Jane, Bhanu, Alicia Stallings, Patricia S., among others (I’ll get to Kwame in a future post) — these are poets whose work and panache I admire. It also appears our paths cross more often than not, one way or another — the nature of the po-biz, I [...] by

Why, Hello Again! Fancy a Poem? April 2, 2011: Ah, Harriet. How much I missed thee. Though I must confess I hesitated, partly because I don’t blog, tweet, Facebook, or whatever the kids are doing these days, simply because I value my privacy. Not that I know how much privacy I have anymore. I’m still shocked when my brother, who lives in Mexico, tells me over Skype that my [...] by

Boycott Arizona April 30, 2010: I saved my most personal post for last. (That is me in the center of the photograph, by the way, in my first march during the grape boycotts of California in the early 1970s.) I am joining (and asking you to join) a steadily growing list of writers who are publicly declaring a boycott of Arizona. Until that state reverses its policy of [...] by