The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body

Finalist, National Book Awards 2002 for Poetry

The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body
ISBN 9781556591730
Copper Canyon Press
Alberto Rios

Alberto Rios is the author of ten books and chapbooks of poetry, three collections of short stories, and a memoir about growing up on the Mexican border. His work has been included in more than 300 national and international literary anthologies, including the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry. More about this author >

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Alberto Ríos explains the world not through reason but magic. These poems—set in a town that straddles Mexico and Arizona—are lyric adventures, crossing two and three boundaries as easily as one, between cultures, between languages, between senses. Drawing upon fable, parable, and family legend, Ríos utilizes the intense and supple imagination of childhood to find and preserve history beyond facts: plastic lemons turning into baseballs, a grandmother’s long hair reaching up to save her life, the painted faith jumpers leaping to the earth and crowd below. This is magical realism at its shimmering best.

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