The Dangerous Shirt

Alberto Ríos

Alberto Ríos’s sixth full-length book of poems explores the magic located in everyday reality. His poems create an improbably true space where human bodies suddenly fall through floorboards, the prickly feeling of limbs “fallen asleep” becomes stars buzzing under the skin, and ironed shirts hanging in a closet take on a foreboding sense of danger. Together these moments create a cultural physics that seeks the “also-moment”—one of the probable and imaginative directions a single moment might otherwise become. “Science may be our best way of understanding the world,” Ríos writes in one poem, “but it may not be our best way of living in it.”

ISBN: 9781556592980

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Alberto Ríos, Arizona’s inaugural poet laureate and a recent chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, is the author of twelve collections of poetry, most recently, Not Go Away Is My Name, preceded by A Small Story about the Sky, The Dangerous Shirt, and The Theater of Night, which received the PEN/Beyond Margins Award. Published in the New Yorker, Paris Review, Ploughshares, and other journals, he has also written three short story collections and a memoir, Capirotada, about growing up …

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“In The Dangerous Shirt, Ríos sends readers down a magical wormhole through mundane reality, creating a book of poems that fuses magical realism with cultural physics.” —Ploughshares

“Alberto Ríos is a poet of reverie and magical perception, and of the threshold between this world and the world just beyond.” —Judges’ citation, National Book Award

“His concise poems—often stately columns of couplets—drift off regularly into memories of a Mexican-American childhood in Arizona.” —New York Times

“Wonderfully odd, sometimes sad, never predictable… Ríos continually surprises us in the way he stretches the meaning of words, turning them this way and that.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Ríos’s new book, The Dangerous Shirt, is his masterwork, a collection that both validates and exceeds everything that has preceded it… The book is one grand cycle—poems of memory, landscape, domesticity, adversity, bare essentials… Ultimately, The Dangerous Shirt succeeds brilliantly because it creates a completely imagined world and vision of humanity, broad in scope, exact in expression.” —Ron Slate, On the Seawall

“Discursive yet aglitter with images, often abstract and yet insistently regional, the ninth collection from the Arizona-based Ríos includes something for almost everyone.” —Publishers Weekly