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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Frozen Accident: Alfred Arteaga

"Frozen Accident is a long poem and, echoing Dante, its primary section "Nezahualcoyotl in Mictlan" narrates a trip to hell. Yet, Mictlan is not quite the Inferno. For Alfred Arteaga the place of the dead is California, the last stop for Western culture, the final limit of its reach."

Here some poems by Arteaga:

En lugar de la nada


Lorna Dee Cervantes said...

Hey Eduardo,

Thanks for posting on this on Alfred Arteaga. I was just going to write a few lines about it in the Book Meme under "What Book Are You Currently Reading?" (I'm finally tagging myself since no one ever does.) I just got a copy of the manuscript and it's incredible. Alfred's high on my list of "Neglectorinos" He's a versatile and amazing writer. The bulk of his poetry is tough and lean, tender and dense. And the globes he traverses! That is, in terms of cultural horizons. Poor Alfred, I joke with him that he only has two possible readers: me and Marjorie Perloff. Maybe you? Better brush up on your Wittgenstein and Nahuatl. Did you know I started my press, MANGO, in order to publish people like Alfred who were really good but slipping through the grooves of the taxidermists.

It's truly a stunning book. I've been going back and rereading his earlier books, too. I'll be glad when this one's out, which should be soon. I hope it will establish him as the poet he is; it's definitely a book to watch out for.

Francisco Aragon said...

Thanks for posting this Eduardo:

Hi Lorna:

I've been reading Alfredo since Chusma House did Canto years ago, and Mercury House in San Francisco did his book of prose pieces which, I remember, was blurbed by Michael Palmer. But I think my favorite book of his is Red, the one Bilingual did back in 2000: it's a truly bilingual book with poems written equally in English as Spanish, but I agree, he is over-neglected, probably because he's poet who challenges his readers quite a bit. Luis had told me in San Antonio that he was doing his next book but I didn't know when it was coming out. What title of his did you (Lorna) do for Mango? Now that must be a collector's item!

Eduardo C. Corral said...

Arteaga is a tough and dense poet, Lorna. It takes me a while to get through his work, but most of the time I find the effort enjoyable. I first read him as an undergraduate at Arizona State. Dr. Aldama, my mentor, assigned HOUSE WITH THE BLUE BED, his book of poetic meditations on place/displacement. Later I discovered his amazing book on Chicano poetics, a book which I re-read at least once a year.

cornshake said...

cool! i'm always looking for new poets to read...ps. when i was in college, some guys from my dorm actually called me "Nezahualcoyotl." Yes, I lived in an honors dorm. nerd alert.