Tragic City & Machete
Authors Clemonce Heard and Tomás Morín will join the Wisconsin Book Festival for a virtual event to discuss their recent poetry collections, Tragic City and Machete. Join the event at: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/wbf-tragic-city-machete. Before the event begins, you will see a countdown and the event image.
About Machete: “Dios aprieta, pero no ahorca” (“God squeezes, but He doesn't strangle”)—the epigraph of Machete—sets the stage for a powerful poet who summons a variety of ways to endure life when there's an invisible hand at your throat. In these poems, culture crashes like waves and leaves behind Billie Holiday and the CIA, disco balls and Dante, the Bible and Jerry Maguire. They are long, lean, and dazzle in their telling: “Whiteface” is a list of instructions for people stopped by the police; “Duct Tape” lauds our domestic life from the point of view of the tape itself. One part Groucho Marx, one part Job, Morín considers our obsession with suffering— “the pain in which we trust”—and finds that the best answer to our predicament is sometimes anger, sometimes laughter, but always via the keen line between them that may be the sharpest weapon we have.
About Tragic City: The absence of reckoning a century after the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre is soldered together by a series of poems based on Heard’s time living on the fringes of the city’s art district and what was once Greenwood, Tulsa’s thriving Black neighborhood. Heard blends survivor testimonies, myths, and present intelligence with his own lived experience and a farrago of forms to feel his way to a more intuitive truth of what’s isn’t documented.
Tomás Morín is the author of the memoir Let Me Count the Ways, forthcoming from University of Nebraska Press, as well as the poetry collections Patient Zero and A Larger Country. He is coeditor, with Mari L’Esperance, of the anthology Coming Close: Forty Essays on Philip Levine and translator of The Heights of Macchu Picchu by Pablo Neruda. He teaches at Rice University and Vermont College of Fine Arts. Morín lives with his family in Texas. His latest poetry collection is Machete.
Clemonce Heard was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the winner of the 2020 Anhinga Robert Dana Prize, selected by Major Jackson. His poetry collection, Tragic City, which investigates the events of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, is forthcoming from Anhinga Press in October 2021. Heard’s work has appeared or is forthcoming from Obsidian, The Missouri Review, Cimarron Review, Iron Horse, World Literature Today, Poetry, Rattle, Ruminate, and elsewhere.