Four Way Sept. 2021. 136p. ISBN 9781945588969. pap. $16.95. POETRY
No, not gentrification but “gentefication,” which debuter López explains is “when the poet finally decides to/ smuggle a metate inside english/ & por fin beat the shards/ that’ve barbed his mouth.” In broiling language blending Spanish and English, vernacular and lyric often presented in lists, López aims to reclaim his culture from the gringo dominance that distorted the coming-of-age he vividly depicts here. “How come I didn’t have one white friend till I was sixteen?/ …Why did ton moms keep asking if I was related to the facilities workers?” he asks, as gringas wrinkle their “prep school noses” at his frijoles. He concludes, “It’s nation time. Build it.”

VERDICT Chosen by Gregory Pardlo for the publisher’s Levis Prize; important reading.
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