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Black Blossoms
Rigoberto González

Four Way
2011 • 76 pp. 6 x 9"

$15.95 Paperback, 978-1-935536-15-4

“STARRED REVIEW- “The poems in Gonzalez’s third collection are rooted in the female body. Death and decay also thread through the collection, manifesting in lush and sensuous imagery. In the... [continued in Reviews below]”—Publisher’s Weekly

“What is / misery now that the last spring / you will ever know has already been forgotten?”

Black Blossoms offers a sustained exploration into the private lives of working class women of color and their difficult journeys. In surreal fairytales and magical biographies, Black Blossoms travels the U.S. and abroad: a daughter in Baja California tends to her sick father and watches for “the prince in his storybook tights”; “The Unsung Story of the Invisible Woman” in Phoenix, Arizona; the infamous New England spinster Lizzie Borden. A follow-up to Gonzalez’s Other Fugitives and Other Strangers (which recounted male lives), Black Blossoms interweaves sex, death and violence: the tragedies of loving and losing.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

STARRED REVIEW- “The poems in Gonzalez’s third collection are rooted in the female body. Death and decay also thread through the collection, manifesting in lush and sensuous imagery. In the title poem, Gonzalez addresses barren women in dark, graphic language that borders on the grotesque: “when the sun sets next it will// blossom with the blackest mushrooms and the moths/ will lay their eggs on your leathery smiles.” Gonzalez’s poems depict the body as a space that carries burden and loss, the site of a fleeting life: “this is the part where the woman enters./ This is the part where she leaves. Her life/ so quick it could have been missed had she left no evidence of the blackbird to construct/ its nest.” Each of us is insignificant and replaceable, Gonzalez seems to say: “borrowed body, in the time you must vacate,// let another take your space./ Don’t worry about whom or when since the girl/ who comes after is already here.” The last section (of four) is told through the voices of the female characters surrounding a mortician. Lust and marriage, birth and death, weave together in their observations and confessions. The mortician’s wife observes, “sound is death because it’s/ irretrievable and every time I speak I die a little more.””—Publisher’s Weekly

This third book of poetry by González, an award-winning Chicano writer equally at home in fiction (Crossing Vines) and children’s literature, complements the male subjects of his Other Fugitives and Other Strangers by focusing on female bodies. The first part, “Mundo de Mujeres” (World of Women) poeticizes women on the fringe of society. Some lines conjure up graphic, arresting visions: “The heavy snow disrobes the landscape of its mountains.” ... [This collection] will appeal to fans of contemporary poetry—Library Journal

Black Blossoms taps into the waters of Lethe, as a bower uniting desire and mortality, history and the present, in tones alternately rapturous and threnodial. González alights on the darkest and most alluring flowers, “the beauty and grief of life,” and draws us down into its intoxicating sweetness.” ”—D. A. Powell

From the Book:


Don’t you dare remove your black dress:
the sound of a garment mourning the loss

of your body’s comfort will break our hearts.
Pity the closet and its communion of hurt—

anemic blouses, slacks thin with hunger,
an evening gown left to wonder

if her dinner date will ever materialize.
Mama, if you’re naked there will be less

of you to love. Already you walk around
hollow as the alley now that your husband’s

dead. Your eyes, like the alley’s puddle,
cannot hold on to light and must settle

for the fleeting faces of strangers.
They flash in passing. None will linger.

RIGOBERTO GONZÁLEZ is the author of two previous collections. He teaches at Rutgers University.

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:07:29 -0500