WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11 AT 7:00PM
KONTEMPORARY AMERIKAN POETRY
BY JOHN MURILLO
with F. DOUGLAS BROWN
& DONNA SPRUIJT-METZ
John Murillo’s second book is a reflective look at the legacy of institutional, accepted violence against Blacks and Latinos and the personal and societal wreckage wrought by long histories of subjugation. A sparrow trapped in a car window evokes a mother battered by a father’s fists; a workout at an iron gym recalls a long-ago mentor who pushed the speaker “to become something unbreakable.” The presence of these and poetic forbears—Gil Scott-Heron, Yusef Komunyakaa—provide a context for strength in the face of danger and anger. At the heart of the book is a sonnet crown triggered by the shooting deaths of three Brooklyn men that becomes an extended meditation on the history of racial injustice and the notion of payback as a form of justice.
John Murillo is also the author of the poetry collection, Up Jump the Boogie. His honors include a Pushcart Prize, two Larry Neal writers awards, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. His poems have appeared in various journals and anthologies including American Poetry Review, Poetry, and Best American Poetry 2017 and 2019. He is an assistant professor of English at Wesleyan University and also teaches in the low-residency MFA program
F. Douglas Brown is the author of Zero to Three (University of Georgia 2014), the 2013 Cave Canem Poetry Prize recipient selected by Tracy K. Smith. An educator for over 20 years, he currently teaches English at Loyola High School of Los Angeles, an all-boys Jesuit school. His poems have appeared in the Academy of American Poets, The PBS News Hour, The Virginia Quarterly (VQR), Bat City Review, The Chicago Quarterly Review (CQR), The Southern Humanities Review, and Muzzle Magazine.
Donna Spruijt-Metz is a poet, translator, and Professor of Psychology and Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Her first career was as a professional flutist. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in venues such as Vinyl, The Rumpus, and Poetry Northwest. She gets restless. Her most recent collection was Slippery Surfaces.
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