A mesmerizing collection of poems of urban pain and immigrant alienation, humming with a current of genuine beauty and the pulse of life
The Concrete River’s poems are dispatches from city corners that CNN viewers never see, that few dare visit, and that fewer still manage to escape. Rodríguez sings corridos of barrios and busted Chicanos trying to make it in L.A. and Chicago, from ballads of Watts’s broken glass to blues played alongside a tequila bottle under an elevated train. But the music also captures moments of true beauty amid the hard urban surfaces, where the cries of the ’hood “deliver sacrifices / of sound and flesh, / as a mother’s milk flows,” while love and community offer renewed hope.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Luis J. Rodríguez including rare images from the author’s personal collection.
“In his bag of tools, his words, Rodriguez knows just which to use to chisel well-sculpted poetry. His is the gift of sharing.” —Indianapolis News
“The poems in this volume . . . have a brutal yet shimmering intensity that registers the poignant humor and pathos of many Chicanos’ lives.” —American Book Review
“This poetry is of the barrio yet stubbornly refuses to be confined in it—Rodríguez’s perceptive gaze and storyteller’s gift transport his world across neighborhood boundaries.” —Publishers Weekly
Luis J. Rodríguez (b. 1954) is a poet, journalist, memoirist, and author of children’s books, short stories, and novels. His documentation of urban and Mexican immigrant life has made him one of the most prominent Chicano literary voices in the United States. Born in El Paso, Texas, to Mexican immigrant parents, Rodríguez grew up in Los Angeles, where in his teen yearshe joined a gang, lived on the streets, and became addicted to heroin. In his twenties, after turning his back on gang violence and drugs, Rodríguez began his career as a journalist and then award-winning poet, writing such books as the memoir Always Running (1993), and the poetry collections The Concrete River (1991), Poems Across the Pavement (1989), and Trochemoche (1998). He has also written the short story collection The Republic of East L.A. (2002). Rodríguez maintains an arts center, bookstore, and poetry press in L.A., where he continues writing and working to mediate gang violence.