Promises of Gold

(Author) (Translator)
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Product Details
$24.99  $23.24
Henry Holt & Company
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.4 X 1.4 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author
José Olivarez is the son of Mexican immigrants. His debut book of poems, Citizen Illegal, was a finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Award and a winner of the 2018 Chicago Review of Books Poetry Prize. It was named a top book of 2018 by the Adroit Journal, NPR, and the New York Public Library. Along with Felicia Chavez and Willie Perdomo, he coedited the poetry anthology The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext. He cohosts the poetry podcast The Poetry Gods.

A USA Today Book Club Pick

"Glistening. . . . Olivarez elevates small but notable moments through a sensitive, introspective speaker who must learn tough lessons on the streets of Calumet City. . . Bilingual readers will enjoy flipping back and forth to see how the prism of each poem changes its hue in the light of another language."
--Booklist starred review

"This book reads like an ode to people of color who are handed a broom, assumed to be the help, when in reality we are equal. He's rewriting the history of colonization and challenging us to unlearn its impacts one poem at a time."
--Chicago Reader

"Promises of Gold is a uniquely bilingual celebration of life and the mundane. . . . While inspired by Olivarez's distinctly second-generation Mexican immigrant experiences, Promises of Gold expresses themes of hope, dreams, family, and friendship that can apply to anyone, regardless of their background."
--The Harvard Crimson

"Promises of Gold shows remarkable growth from Olivarez, who has quickly matured into one of the most important poets writing about living in diaspora as a second generation Mexican American."
--The Poetry Question

"The truth is: Technically, I don't understand poetry. I never have. I miss everything in it. It's a language I can't process. And, for me anyway, that's what makes Jose special. Because when he writes poetry, I don't need to understand it--at least, not in the traditional sense--because I FEEL it. I feel his words under my fingertips like velvet. I feel his words in my chest like I'm looking at a painting that moves me in a way I can't fully explain. And, again, for me anyway, that's more important."
--Shea Serrano, bestselling author of Hip Hop (And Other Things)

"Visceral and moving."
--Kate Baer, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of What Kind of Woman

""My people I am poly with the tortillas" might be my favorite single sentence I have ever read in a poem. Get the book for that line alone. Promises of Gold is a heartfelt and hilarious series of odes to the large and small joys of life. It is also a battle rap and a clapback to all the death-making institutions we live under at every level. I could call this book soft and I would only be telling a half-truth. This is a collection that delights in the softness of every kind of love from familial to homie to culinary to romantic. But this is also a book that is hard on colonizers, and cruel billionaires, and capitalist exploitation. This book shines bright as the gold that got us into all this colonial mess."
--Nate Marshall, author of Finna

"The best part about reading Olivarez's work is that his language is cordial toward the reader. He is one of the few poets who uses accessible language, and everyone regardless of educational background can enjoy his poems."
--NewCity Lit

"Details grounded in the everyday world capture great fulfillment. . . . The poet's sensitive and insightful voice allows these stirring poems to successfully explore the forces acting on love in a complex world, and the unshakable promise of understanding and belonging."
--Publishers Weekly starred review

"Olivarez primarily explores the presence and absence of love in Chicano and Mexican communities, creating sparkling, nostalgic portraits of family and friends. . . . He is able to pierce the culture, arriving straight at its heart."
--BookPage starred review