...enter Gertrude Stein ("How do you spell a pair a pare of glasses a pear of shoes a chair of legs made of cherry wood"), Paul Célan ("Above the highlands / moon the color of paper ash. Faint seam of blood / in the fields, apron of wind, horsemint.") or even Bessie Smith ("I could be a ghost or the crushed mouths of wild orchids"), and the poet is, like Pablo Neruda, moved from despair into love song. Poetry is salvation.
Ron Slate on Alberto Rios:
The book is one grand cycle – poems of memory, landscape, domesticity, adversity, bare essentials. The Dangerous Shirt is also a book of embraced oppositions and subtle complexity. In some poems, Ríos affably chides us for turning away from the actual. But to conclude “The Sonoran Heat, In Summer and at Night,” he writes: “We feel the sinking weight of this hot drunkenness, / The dizziness of the falling, all of us. // But we do not say so. We pretend / All is otherwise. It is the only way.” Ultimately, The Dangerous Shirt succeeds brilliantly because it creates a completely imagined world and vision of humanity, broad in scope, exact in expression.