Machete: Poems (Hardcover)
"Morín's writing uses the mundane details of everyday life . . . as a jumping-off point for creating fascinating and philosophical worlds." —LitHub
"Dios aprieta, pero no ahorca" ("God squeezes, but He doesn't strangle")--the epigraph of Machete--sets the stage for a powerful poet who summons a variety of ways to endure life when there's an invisible hand at your throat. Tomás Morín hails from the coastal plains of Texas, and explores a world where identity and place shift like that ever-changing shore.
In these poems, culture crashes like waves and leaves behind Billie Holiday and the CIA, disco balls and Dante, the Bible and Jerry Maguire. They are long, lean, and dazzle in their telling: "Whiteface" is a list of instructions for people stopped by the police; "Duct Tape" lauds our domestic life from the point of view of the tape itself.
One part Groucho Marx, one part Job, Morín considers our obsession with suffering--"the pain in which we trust"--and finds that the best answer to our predicament is sometimes anger, sometimes laughter, but always via the keen line between them that may be the sharpest weapon we have.
“Wonderfully intimate . . . Highlights Morín’s versatility as a poet who fuses both content and form . . . I would rush out to buy a copy of Machete just to have a poem like ‘Two Dolphins’ on hand. Not only was I captivated by the sheer beauty and dexterity of the poem but I was struck by how rare it is to come across poems about fatherhood . . . If Morín wields language like a machete, it’s to slash through ignorance, to clear a path for strollering his children onto a sidewalk, safe from traffic.” —Julie Poole, Texas Observer
“Perceptive . . . Asks readers to go beyond seeing the world at face value, offering vivid descriptions and cutting political critique . . . Playful and piercing, this impressive collection demonstrates a radical kind of empathy.” —Publishers Weekly