Be Recorder

Finalist, National Book Awards 2019 for Poetry

ISBN 9781555978488
Graywolf Press
Carmen Giménez Smith

Carmen Giménez Smith is the author of Be Recorder and five previous poetry collections, including Cruel Futures and Milk and Filth, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

Be Recorder offers readers a blazing way forward into an as yet unmade world. The many times and tongues in these poems investigate the precariousness of personhood in lines that excoriate and sanctify. Carmen Giménez Smith turns the increasingly pressing urge to cry out into a dream of rebellion—against compromise, against inertia, against self-delusion, and against the ways the media dream up our complacency in an America that depends on it. This reckoning with self and nation demonstrates that who and where we are is as conditional as the fact of our compliance: “Miss America from sea to shining sea / the huddled masses have a question / there is one of you and all of us.” Be Recorder is unrepentant and unstoppable, and affirms Giménez Smith as one of our time’s most vital and vivacious poets.

Judges Citation

In her extraordinary and raw vision of America, Carmen Giménez Smith doesn’t hold the world at arm’s length but entangles herself in its chaos, writing in a furious unpunctuated lyric that moves from the intimate self-questioning sonnet to the Whitmanesque litany. She sees how others see her, and with this soaring double-vision, she weaponizes language against a nation that has for too long peddled itself as inclusive all the while casting out brown bodies as “pestilence.” Be Recorder’s registers are multi-pronged: she will whisper the shadowy uncertainties of being a Latinx woman, mother, daughter and in the next exhilarating breath, demand that we take down monuments.