Diaries of a Terrorist

Christopher Soto

This debut poetry collection demands the abolition of policing and human caging. In Diaries of a Terrorist, Christopher Soto uses the “we” pronoun to emphasize that police violence happens not only to individuals, but to whole communities. His poetics open the imagination towards possibilities of existence beyond the status quo. Soto asks, “Who do we call terrorist, & why”? These political surrealist poems shift between gut-wrenching vulnerability, laugh-aloud humor, and unapologetic queer punk raunchiness. Diaries of a Terrorist is groundbreaking in its ability to speak—from a local to a global scale—about one of the most important issues of our time.

ISBN: 9781556596346

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Christopher Soto is a Salvadoran poet and abolitionist based in Tovaangar (Los Angeles, California). He currently works as the Assistant Director of Development for UCLA’s Ethnic Studies Research Centers, and he also teaches at UCLA’s Honors College. He has previously taught at NYU where he received his MFA in Poetry and was a Goldwater Hospital Writing Fellow, Columbia University as a June Jordan Teaching Corp Fellow, and at Occidental College as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing. He previously …

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“Each work in [Sad Girl Poems] celebrates degradation. Elevates it. Consecrates it. Soto asserts brown degradation as beauty. In this respect, Soto belongs to a Latin American tradition of lyrically romanticizing abjection.” —Ploughshares

“Soto succeeds in assembling an expansive, sonorous, and literarily significant volume that reveals the broad range of engagements queer poets of color have undertaken over the years.” —Publishers Weekly

“In his debut collection, Christopher Soto shows vulnerability and humor to talk about some of issues affecting the world today, from queerness to identity to police violence.” —Shereads

“This is a book that will move you—rock you. Soto is unapologetic in the demands he makes of his readers. He challenges us to look closely at the damage caused to individuals, to families, and to communities by police violence and by the inhumanity of caging human beings. Soto’s collection calls upon us to feel the world as it is and to imagine alternative possibilities.” —The Rumpus

“Christopher Soto is the living embodiment of the best poetry being written in Los Angeles right now: queer, punk, pro-migrant, irrepressibly rousing and political, with a peerless ability to turn the most subdued of literary affairs into a backyard party. . . . Soto’s long-awaited debut collection, Diaries of a Terrorist, takes as its central mission the abolition of policing and human caging. Soto’s poetics of dissent is refreshingly unpretentious, and the book’s stylistically avant-garde yet highly relatable poems encompass several critical conversations within the abolitionist movement, such as youth detention, migrants at the border, trans people harassed by airport security and the incarceration of Palestinian activists. While it explicitly calls for the end of the police state, Diaries of a Terrorist also is fueled by a scarred personal history, which finds its voice in confessional poems where Soto pushes through the pain of experience to remind us that a more just world isn’t only possible but necessary—becoming a loving tribute to lives traumatized by domestic violence, for-profit incarceration and the grim realities of what it takes to get by in Los Angeles.”Los Angeles Times

“Alongside its uncompromising portrait of injustice Diaries of a Terrorist also offers audacious glimmers of hope.”Harriet Books, Poetry Foundation