Released on the heels of his National Book Award nomination for poetry, Alberto Ríos’s The Theater of Night is filled with magic, marvel, and emotional truth. Set within a community along the border between the United States and Mexico, Ríos’s poems trace the lives and loves of an elderly couple, Clemente and Ventura, through their childhoods, courtship, and into marriage, maturity, old age, and death. Ríos’s narratives are both surreal and hyperreal, and from the community of these two lives he creates a striking geography unlike any other in American poetry. Like the best storytellers, he charms his readers, making us care deeply for—even love—his characters.
“In this rhapsodic series of poems, Ríos presents the story of Ventura and Clemente Ríos, a married couple living near the United States-Mexico border in the first half of the twentieth century. Ríos’s project, indebted to magic realism but rooted in naturalism, proves ambitious. He deftly uses the couple—members, he says, of his ‘extended family’—to explore liminal spaces…” —New Yorker
“… gentle, accessible work that retains its powers within (not despite) its linguistic and stylistic smoothness, and these powers pull the mind and heart awake in ways that only poetry can do.” —Western American Literature