Levi Romero, A Poetry of Remembrance: New and Rejected Works (University of New Mexico Press) Romero’s family has lived in northern New Mexico since the 1600s, and much of his writing is about preserving those familial and community memories. A veteran of the Española lowrider culture and a research professor in the University of New Mexico’s School of Architecture, Romero combines the indigenous rural, lowcura, and academic strands of his life into a poetry of wry wit and celebration of the rich mix of cultures from which he comes. The centerpiece poem of A Poetry of Remembrance, which sold out within a month of publication, "Lowcura: An Introspective Virtual Cruise Through an American Subcultural Tradition," is a tour de force making fun of academic jargon and attitudes while it paints a loving portrait of not only the lowrider tradition that he loves but the whole mix of cultures of which northern New Mexico is made. Romero has for years reached out to the hidden community with workshops in detention centers, homeless shelters, nursing homes, and poor and working-class neighborhoods. His work is moving and hilarious and truly deserves the widest audience. Here is the link for A Poetry of Remembrance, his second book.
Kim Shuck, Smuggling Cherokee (Greenfield Review Press) A Cherokee/Sac & Fox poet, Shuck won the Native Writers of the Americas First Book Award for Smuggling Cherokee, as well as the Diane Decorah Award for Poetry. Shuck’s eye for the perfect, telling detail of life to bring the reader into her world and to smack that reader in the face with a powerful insight. Yet her poetry is lightened by sardonic wit and true tenderness for the aching beauty of the world. Shuck is also a beading and fiber artist using traditional Indigenous techniques to create her dazzling work. She is deeply involved in community-building and teaching. Expect great things in the future from this multi-talented young writer. Here’s the link for the book.
Next week, I’ll cover more of these terrific writers.