The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4
In the dynamic tradition of the BreakBeat Poets anthology, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNEXT celebrates the embodied narratives of Latinidad. Poets speak from an array of nationalities, genders, sexualities, races, and writing styles, staking a claim to our cultural and civic space. Like Hip-Hop, we honor what was, what is, and what's next.

The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4 Details

TitleThe BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 7th, 2020
PublisherHaymarket Books
ISBN-139781642591293
Rating
GenrePoetry, Anthologies

The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4 Review

  • s.penkevich
    January 1, 1970
    How our words bloomfrom the same backbone-Ana Portnoy Brimmer, HomeFor the last few years I have always looked forward to early Spring as it meant the release of another BreakBeat Poets anthology from Haymarket Books. Each volume has been an utter delight and an incredible opportunity to discover new poets as well as read more work from the familiar names included. Working in a bookstore and just as a large advocate of poetry, whenever people ask for a good starting point with poetry I always ‘How our words bloomfrom the same backbone’-Ana Portnoy Brimmer, ‘Home’For the last few years I have always looked forward to early Spring as it meant the release of another BreakBeat Poets anthology from Haymarket Books. Each volume has been an utter delight and an incredible opportunity to discover new poets as well as read more work from the familiar names included. Working in a bookstore and just as a large advocate of poetry, whenever people ask for a good starting point with poetry I always direct them to this series. The newly released fourth volume, LatiNext from editors Felicia Rose Chavez, José Olivarez, and Willie Perdomo is another excellent addition to the collection and highlights Latinx voices in poetry. This volume displays a ‘collective resonance’--as poet Daniel Borzutzky puts it, of voices that chronicle the joys, struggles, traditions, hope and more of the Latinx identity. With voices from spoken word poets, traditional verse poets, new or up-and-coming poets to National Book Award winning poets, this is an important and powerful collection that proudly gives a platform for artists to stake their rightful claim in the history of poetry. ‘What’s in a name?’ asks poem Jani Rose through the title of her poem. It is the sound of our identity.The auditory virtual selfthat is spoken into the universe,and when written on the pageit means “me”. This anthology beautifully creates a poetic space for identity to speak and tell a story. As Perdomo states in the introduction ‘you will find poets in conversation, in celebration, in protest, in demonstration, in a collective breakbeat that is informed by ritual, but aso a resistance to the normalized ways of looking at stanzas, patria, sex, gender, patriarcy, and nationalism.’ Separated into five thematic sections, these poems cover a vast array of topics. Decolonialism, language, gender and sexuality, borders, honoring family, remembering the fallen, community life and more all are roots from which poetic beauty blossoms within these pages. These poems take place in bustling kitchens, in the streets and subways, in the bedroom, and anywhere life can be found and celebrated. The pages practically burst with music. The poetic styles are bountiful, inventive, fresh and familiar, and the large assortment of poets from the fresh to the familiar is outstanding. The longest of any volume in the anthology thus far, readers will discover new talent as well as find works from celebrated names such as Elizabeth Acevedo, Nicole Sealey, Yesenia Montilla, Javier Zamora, John Murillo, José Olivarez, Sara Borjas, and many more. This volume alone is a perfect starting point to discover your next favorite poets.‘My Spanglish is an unwanted child who insisted on being born.’-Peggy Robles Alvarado, ‘My Spanglish’Language plays a predominant theme across this collection. There are tearjerking moments such as Sara Borjas’ poem exploring her mother calling her ‘míja’ over the phone concluding with ‘what my mother / still wants / her mother / to call /and say’. There are also insightful looks at the interplay between two languages and a bilingual identity. The juxtaposition of the Spanish language with the English translation of ‘preguntas frecuentes’ by Raquel Salas Rivera serves as an excellent example of natural translation barriers and the way language informs concepts such as the singular self and plurality.en el idioma lo que ya existe no eraLo que será se da en el idiomxEn elle idiomaNo importa el presenteTanto como el presente plural¿cómo haces en español para existirsingularmente?OIn language what already exists wasn’tWhat will be happens in languagxIn the(y) languageThe present doesn’t matterAs much as the plural presenthow do you manage in spanish to existsingularly?The notation of ‘the(y)’ is particularly interesting as a method of capturing the idiosyncrasies of language. In the introduction, WIllie Perdomo discusses how revolutionary the use of Spanglish was in poetry as a decolonial practice. As the great Audre Lorde once wrote, ‘The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house,’ yet the combination of both languages creates a new tool that subverts the colonial tongue while using it against itself and embodies the identity of one living in a foreign land. As Wren Romero writes in ‘A Letter from the X in Latinx’:am i fucking up your language?maybe i mean to.maybe i mean to remind spanish that it’s as uncomfortable on my tongueas english, french, and latin before it.maybe i mean to remind U this is nobody’s country.maybe i mean to remind U that we haven’t heard the future yet,maybe i do mean to fuck up your languageDecolonialism becomes an important theme as well, especially with regard to the imperialist nature of the United States. We see poets rally against nationalism and white supremacy, decry the violent foreign policy of the US government and its military, look at the horrors of family separations and deadly border crossings, examine the gentrification in Latinx neighborhoods and the assault of systemic poverty on people.I am not AmericanBecause I am “proud”.I am Americandespite bombing seven countries,despite exploited labor,despite Palestine,El Salvador,Guam.Jonathan Mendoza’s ‘On Nationalism’ which begins with a powerful erasure of Woody Gutherie’s ‘This Land is Your Land’, looks at the notion of being an American citizen without feeling part of the American system and resisting the violence inherent in it. As Perdomo points out, Poets will play a role in the changing of the world and collected here are many fine voices calling for that change.Language is the way we reshape the world around us. Within this volume we see it also look at rigid gender roles and find ways to speak against them, as with oppressive and outdated looks at sexuality as well. Language is the tool of those to be heard and poetry is an excellent way to utilize such an important tool. Haymarket Books has consistently been an empowering, provocative, educational and progressive publisher that has given space to necessary and urgent voices to be heard and their BreakBeat Poets anthology series is one of the best platforms they have created. This is another valuable addition and I’m eager to see what next year will bring.5 /5 I received an ARC of this collection in exchange for an honest review. That has not influenced my opinion in any way. I basically hounded people on twitter to get a hold of it and then bought it when it came out this week anyways.
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  • Christiana Castillo
    January 1, 1970
    I flew through reading this collection of poetry. Such an amazing compilation of Latinx poetry. I cant wait to share this book with my loved ones ❤ I flew through reading this collection of poetry. Such an amazing compilation of Latinx poetry. I can’t wait to share this book with my loved ones ❤️
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  • Erika Stallings
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this collection of poetry and the way it showcases the range of Latinidad. So many poems made me laugh or exclaim or had me in my feelings. Beautiful work all around.
  • Karla Strand
    January 1, 1970
    New to poetry and dont know where to start? Looking to broaden your poetry perspectives? Either way, you should be reading the exceptional Breakbeats Poets series from Haymarket; the latest features the work of Latinx masters and up-and-comers alike. Seriously, just read them all. New to poetry and don’t know where to start? Looking to broaden your poetry perspectives? Either way, you should be reading the exceptional Breakbeats Poets series from Haymarket; the latest features the work of Latinx masters and up-and-comers alike. Seriously, just read them all.
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