Posts By: Willy Palomo

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Microreview: Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib’s The Crown Ain’t Worth Much

The Crown Ain’t Worth Much by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib (Button Poetry, 2016)

I don’t want to imagine how many strangled nights Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib spent thrashing inside the belly of death to give us The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, but I am immensely grateful he survived them with a soul as expansive and rich as found in this debut collection of poetry. This collection carries a fierce duende, a juggernaut unafraid to tie your body “to a truck in east texas” and drag it “through that jagged metal holy land so you can meet god clean”. The Crown Ain’t Worth Much is not so much a book you read, but one you survive—with Willis-Abdurraqib’s compassionate, elegiac lyric gently pushing you forward through heartbreak and violence.

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Micro-Review: Natalie Scenters-Zapico’s The Verging Cities

The Verging Cities by Natalie Scenters-Zapico (The Center for Literary Publishing, 2015)

Reviewed by Willy Palomo

 

I have never been to the border, yet the border has maintained its presence in my life, mostly through the barriers it has erected against my friends and family. What I know of it I have learned either from the confusing and crazed worlds of media and academia or from late night stories half-spoken by my parents, both of whom migrated to the United States from El Salvador during the 1980s and hardly speak of it. Given all the violence, divisive politics, and silence surrounding the border and its issues, it is difficult to find a voice discerning and trustworthy enough to share its stories with the scope and passion Natalie Scenters-Zapico faces the subject in The Verging Cities, her debut collection of poetry about the sister cities, El Paso and Juarez.

 

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