Promises of Gold

Macmillan Audio. Feb. 2023. tr. from English to Spanish by David Ruano González. 5:44 hrs. ISBN 9781250884176. $19.99. POETRY
Olivarez’s second poetry collection (after Citizen Illegal) dwells on love—platonic, familial, brotherly, and self-love—within the context of everyday life as experienced by the poet’s family, his “homies,” and the Mexican American community from which he hails. Compiled during the pandemic, these poems are full of emotion and superbly performed by Olivarez, who injects even the most poignant poems with joy and laughter. Though some of the poems blend together in audio, listeners will be captivated by this energetic presentation. Most poems are read in a studio setting, but others are performed with live audience participation, creating an intimate and exciting listening experience. The audiobook is further enhanced by a short introduction to each poem, briefly explaining the inspiration or cultural context; these interludes gently urge listeners to pause and reflect between selections. The poems are presented first in English, followed by a Spanish translation by fellow poet David Ruano González.
VERDICT Seemingly tailor-made for audio, this powerful book is a must-purchase. Olivarez’s invitation to share moments of his history, culture, love, and joy is wholly affecting.
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