My favorite book of poetry from last year was the iceworker sings and other poems by AndrÃ©s Montoya. I say that because it was the volume of poetry I read most often during there. Must have checked it out of the Oakland Public Library at least three times and would have probably kept checking it out ‘cept for the fact that Barb got me a copy for X-mas.
It felt like I read that book just at the right time, a time when I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the grittiness that was becoming Anywhere Ave. Childbeaters, gamblers, petty criminals, and wannabe gangsters floating all around and who was going to be responsible for their actions? Who was going to clean up the mess that was happening around the block?
AndrÃ©s Montoya showed me that no one *has* to clean up anything. Living in the CIty means living with everyone and all their crap. The best we can do is be responsible for ourselves, try to keep our own backyards and front stoops clear and hope everyone else does the same. Hell, even acknowledging that your stoop is dirty is a big step towards keeping the City in check. Ever try asking a neighbor to clean up their garbage? Ever try asking a stranger? It ain’t easy, that’s for sure.
Back to Montoya. His speaker points no fingers except to himself. His speaker asks for no sympathy or pity. His speaker does ask for love and does admit that he may be unworthy of it but he’s gotta ask. Right? More than anything, his speaker remains honest. Not truthful or factual which are different animals, just honest.
Well, that’s my off the top of the dome, gut reaction memory from my reads of his work. But I feel that there is still more in the reads. More music, more memory and more hope to be saved. As the cover image states, the time for Forgiveness is right now and inside the pages of AndrÃ©s Montoya’s poems.
All that being said, I am very honored to be included in the forthcoming issue of in the grove and also to be a part of a reading celebrating the life and poems of AndrÃ©s Montoya. Many thanks to Daniel ChacÃ³n and Lee Herrick for letting me give a little back to SeÃ±or Montoya.
in the grove release party!
Special Issue: An homage to AndrÃ©s Montoya
Thursday, April 10 2008
Tim Z. Hernandez
Kenneth R. ChacÃ³n
Corrinne Clegg Hales
Veronica E. Guajardo
Sasha Pimentel ChacÃ³n
For an updated list of readers, please check here