Trouble Sleeping

New Issues: Western Michigan Univ. 2015. 74p. ISBN 9781936970322. pap. $15. POETRY
Ali's opening poem places us energetically in a hard-edged, urban present: "Begin with a location: brick, spray paint bottles/ & you have vivid, block-lettered murals." But throughout this brisk, punchy first collection, history sweeps in: "my mind backpedals to a different time/ I hear different voices slave voices/ I am master & the slave." We get fragments of personal history, too, from swimming lessons to "a nation Def Jammed" (from "In Nineteen Eighty-Four"). Edgy, yes, but also heartfelt and well rounded, even as the New York City subway roars by.
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