Shadowboxing: poems & impersonations

Omnidawn. Oct. 2017. 88p. ISBN 9781632430434. pap. $17.95. POETRY
In a dazzling display, Rios blends prose poems, dramatic dialogs, and punch-in-the-gut verse to record the life of Chicano adolescent Josefo, not incidentally showing us working-class California along the way. There are "Two Josefos," the hardworking, hard-drinking laborer who wants to make it in the ring—sections are styled as rounds, and Rocky is referenced—and the aspiring poet who can cite Czeslaw Milosz and (presumably) write a line like, "That moon over 24th street just as loud/ as gold shoes in the mud"). Both foul-mouthed and astute, raucous Josefo is a fully realized character as he punches his way toward his multiple dreams.
VERDICT A one-of-a-kind debut; it's easy to imagine both experienced poetry readers and teenage newbies burrowing into this book.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month