A State of Poems
More than forty-five poems from and about the beautiful and brutal state of Texas
Texas, Being: A State of Poems collects more than forty-five poems from a beautiful and brutal state. Some are about the music of their languages. Some speak to the dead, some to the sun, and others to omissions of history. One concerns a hedgehog cactus, and another a roller rink. ...
Selected by Jenny Browne, 2017 poet laureate of Texas, these poems draw a picture of one of America’s vastly sublime yet most audaciously independent corners. In these diverse voices, the state is a lovely and painful contradiction of space and meaning. Texas is a place “where blind catfish cruise” and wild asters grow. It’s a frame of mind where Jenny Boully writes “the history is unending” and Mexican American studies professor Christopher Carmona can “feel the slowness of time.” Jorge Luis Borges wrote of it as “an endless plain / Where a man’s cry dies a lonely death.” Victoria Chang writes that “there is so / much sky that even birds / get lost."
Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson describes her hometown as a “fiercely loving city tougher on the outside / but smooth as pecan shells,” and Naomi Shihab Nye reminds us to “be patient, sure there’s lots of bad around, / but more room for good too, with all this empty.” Whether it is Joshua Edwards imagining his photographer father or Primo Feliciano Marín’s declaration “Hail Texas, fraught with charms unknown,” these voices, past and present, give us a glimpse into the poetic soul of the nation’s most willful state.
Poets include Robert A. Ayres, Curtis Bauer, Jan Beatty, Layla Benitez-James, Jorge Luis Borges, Jenny Boully, Catherine Bowman, Susan Briante, Bobby Byrd, Christopher Carmona, Aline B. Carter, Rosemary Catacalos, Victoria Chang, Hayan Charara, Joshua Edwards, Tarfia Faizullah, Carrie Fountain, Vievee Francis, Mag Gabbert, Miriam Bird Greenberg, Lucy Griffith, Aaron Hand, Fady Joudah, Jim LaVilla-Havelin, Emma Lazarus, J. Estanislao Lopez, Primo Feliciano Marín, Pablo Miguel Martínez, Walter McDonald, Jasminne Mendez, Townsend Miller, Ange Mlinko, Naomi Shihab Nye, Shin Yu Pai, Cecily Parks, Emmy Pérez, Octavio Quintanilla, Iliana Rocha, Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson, ire’ne lara silva, Jeff Sirkin, Margo Tamez, Lao Yang, Loretta Diane Walker, Emily Winakur, and Matthew Zapruder.