Tomás Q. Morín with Garrett Hongo
Poet, translator, and professor (presently at Rice University) Tomás Q. Morín makes this welcome virtual Elliott Bay appearance to read from his newly published third collection, Machete (Knopf). Following his earlier Copper Canyon Press books, A Larger Country and Patient Zero, Machete takes in and on such variable subjects as Billie Holiday, the CIA, Jerry Maguire, disco balls, Dante, the Bible, considers what it is we ‘suffer’ in surprising, eye-opening ways.
Of Patient Zero, Wesley Sexton at The Adroit Journal notes: “Morín takes us from the enormous to the minutiae and from the universal to the personal, always encouraging us to come to terms as fully as possible with what it means to be a person. What does it mean to inherit one culture, complete with its language and habits and qualitative assumptions, instead of another? What does it mean to admit the limits of our understanding? What does it mean to be profoundly disappointed by the same world that asks us in a million strange ways to love it? The poems in Patient Zero take as a central concern the belief that the stories we tell ourselves affect who we become, and in response, they offer us several marvelously unique narrative possibilities.”
Words, questions, challenges we suspect will apply to what is contained within Machete. Tomás Q. Morín is also a brilliant translator of Pablo Neruda’s The Heights of Machu Picchu (Copper Canyon); co-editor, with Mari L’Esperance of the anthology, Coming Close: Forty Essays on Philip Levine; and has a memoir coming in early 2022, Let Me Count the Ways.