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Shadowboxing
poems & impersonations
Joseph Rios

Publication date: October 3, 2017



Omnidawn
2017 • 88 pp. 6 x 9"
Poetry / Poetry - Hispanic American

$17.95 Paperback, 978-1-63243-043-4



A mashup of poetry and theater collaged from the overlooked voices of California’s labor class

Borrowing the poetic language found in boxing lore and in the Rocky films, Shadowboxing pieces together a poetic portrait of Josefo, a Chicano adolescent working and becoming a poet in the farm territories of Central California. Rios confounds the relationship between author, speaker, and subject within various forms and, at times, across genre. He challenges the usefulness of poetry and stands upon oral histories to demystify California’s overlooked labor class. Rios invites the reader to enter Josefo’s world of memory, experience, and talk, of packinghouse mentors, storytelling grandmothers, parable-sharing plumbers, smooth talking truck drivers, and infinitely patient literature professors.

Reviews / Endorsements

“‘Voice’ and ‘epic’ are words that are distributed loosely in the poetry world. But I use them with all heat that I can muster. Joseph Rios does for Xican@ poetics what Jean Toomer’s Cane did for the Harlem Renaissance: he radicalizes it into an undeniable modernity. And like Toomer, Rios uses all the genres at his disposal. He uses the epistle, the dramatic dialogue, epigrams from popular culture, and even has a Romantic touch. Pablo Neruda hoped for a poetry that could feed us with the bounty of bread. Rios’s audiences, his carneles, want to know if poetry can fix a broken down Cherokee. That is what the poet, in the shadow of machismo and financial pragmatism, is up against.” —Willie Perdomo



JOSEPH RIOS was born in Clovis, California. He is a VONA alumnus, a Macondo fellow, and a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in Los Angeles.



Sun, 16 Jul 2017 13:56:54 -0500