Details

ISBN-10: 0872868753
ISBN-13: 9780872868755
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 09/17/2021
Dimensions: 6.20" L, 4.80" W, 0.60" H

Published by City Lights

Blood on the Fog: Pocket Poets Series No. 62

Price: $15.95 $11.17

In stock

Overview

Radical, outraged, knowing, wry, and deeply humane, poems of survival that soar with a vision of collective liberation.

Politically astute, filled with wisdom and great humanity, this is poetry meant to conjure a healing and provoke a confrontation, an invitation to a journey through Black America.

A rhapsodic follow-up to Tongo Eisen-Martin’s Heaven is All Goodbyes, this collection further explores themes of love and loss, family and faith, refracted through the lens of Black experience. These poems honor intellectual tradition and ancestral knowledge while blazing an entirely new path, recording and replaying the poet’s sensory travels through America, from its packed metropolises to desolate anytowns. Radical, outraged, knowing, wry, and deeply humane, these are poems of survival that soar with a vision of collective liberation.

Praise for Blood on the Fog:

“Continuing the lofty tradition of Langston Hughes, June Jordan, and Amiri Baraka, Tongo Eisen-Martin has emerged on center stage as today’s premier revolutionary poet. A master craftsman and a sensitive artist, he reserves his sledgehammer words for the cruelty of imperialism. He should not only be read–he should be studied.”–Gerald Horne

“In Blood on the Fog, find a poetry of ‘swinging type body language’ where the swinging swings like Ellington and Ali combined, knocking you out inside and out, and turning you around in this extraordinary book.”–Terrance Hayes

“Black poetry has got to get its head around the deranged way language and the world expect us to be and live again. Tongo has figured this out, is feeling out how to vein the poem with his own life, and that’s why I love his work.”–Simone White

“This is no precious, immortal-aspirational monologue; no autocrat stone of finality; no poor folks as thought experiments. More fugue than state. More disturbance as the groove. If poems are for anything, I feel like it must be this.”–Justin Phillip Reed

Blood on the Fog is the illest artifact of time travel I’ve ever experienced. Tongo Eisen-Martin takes us to a tomorrow and yesterday where we stand–contorted and mangled–but oh so beautiful, faithful and free.”–Kiese Laymon

“Whether speaking rhyme in slant, calling forward Medgar Evers, or the spirituality of an oppressed people, Eisen-Martin offers stanza after stanza as a sunrise. Each poem leads us towards our liberation. This means these poems are heavy in their desire to free our current state of stoic apathy. This means Tongo Eisen-Martin’s poetic legacy will live forever.”–Mahogany L. Browne

Read More
In The News

“Tongo Eisen-Martin: The Revolution Is in the Rhythm of Our Daily Lives,” Breakfast Poetry, interview
“Clocked In Still Starving,” The New York Review of Books, excerpt
“And Other Themes,” Literary Hub, excerpt
“three,” The Brooklyn Rail, excerpts
“Looking Ahead to Bay Area Books to Read This Fall,” Blood on the Fog included
“Poetry, Revolution, & Blood on the Fog with SF Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin,” San Francisco Writer’s Conference, interview
“Inaugural Address of the San Francisco Poet Laureate,” Recording of the live stream of Tongo Eisen-Martin’s collective inaugural address as the eighth Poet Laureate of San Francisco. Featuring Mayor London Breed, an opening statement and reading by Tongo Eisen-Martin, and special appearances by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Biko Eisen-Martin, Mahogany Browne, Jive Poetic, and Joyce Lee.
InterviewMill Valley Lit
– 
Interview, KRON4 News
“Essential California: Talking San Francisco with the City’s New Poet Laureate,” Los Angeles Times, interview
“SF Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin on Poetry as Revolution,” SF Public Press, profile
“Mayor Appoints Tongo Eisen-Martin As City’s 8th Poet Laureate,” SFGate
“Tongo Eisen-Martin Selected as San Francisco’s Poet Laureate,” KQED

More In The News
Reviews

Praise for Blood on the Fog:

"Author of the widely-acclaimed Heaven Is All Goodbyes, Eisen-Martin is the current San Francisco Poet Laureate, and this latest collection bursts with frenetic energy, like an encyclopedia of streets on fire. Lyrics dance and span across the page, and it's easy to imagine Eisen-Martin performing any one of these poems in a Bay Area coffeeshop, tea house, bookstore, or dive bar. The verses are also steeped in social and political conflict, and Eisen-Martin rattles off a list of influential and complex figures, from the Black Jacobins to Joseph McCarthy, the formerly enslaved African-American leader Denmark Vesey, and Shango, a Yoruba deity. Lines reverberate and accumulate over the course of long poems, and nearly every one epitomizes the author's intersectional approach, where class and race and politics collide ... Eisen-Martin's collection is militant (without being pedantic), improvisational, and thoroughly captivating."–Booklist

"The title of Tongo Eisen-Martin's latest collection, Blood on the Fog, is a spring-loaded phrase that moves from concrete image to political and poetic association with all the force of a jack-in-the-box. And what more, really, could you ask of your poet laureate? ... Eisen-Martin's poetry is the kind that people describe as dreamlike and elliptical; it's advanced, nuanced and evocative of its literary forebears."–San Francisco Chronicle

"The poems in Blood on the Fog confront race, inequity, and hope with vivid and transcendent language that inspires liberation. Eisen-Martin writes of fury and love and freedom, recalling his experiences traveling through the varied landscapes of America."–Alta Journal

"The poems in Blood on the Fog erupt from Tongo Martin-Eisen's revolutionary zeal, but this collection is more than a simple manifesto. While anchored in socialist critique, these poems engage a wide range of political and social issues, including imperialism, racism and white supremacy, and police and the carceral state. ... Death, no doubt, is the end point, and if revolution looks forward to anything, it is to that. It's a difficult conclusion, but nothing about these poems is easy. One gets the feeling that any other approach–at least in Martin-Eisen's America–would be grossly disingenuous."–Poetry Foundation's Harriet Books

"Continuing the lofty tradition of Langston Hughes, June Jordan, and Amiri Baraka, Tongo Eisen-Martin has emerged on center stage as today's premier revolutionary poet. A master craftsman and a sensitive artist, he reserves his sledgehammer words for the cruelty of imperialism. He should not only be read–he should be studied."–Gerald Horne

"'Revolution'" appears at least two dozen times in Tongo Eisen-Martin's amazing Blood on the Fog. Find something like a revolving, reiterating locomotion of music riding the rails of thinking and feeling in Blood on the Fog. Find a poetry of 'swinging type body language' where the swinging swings like Ellington and Ali combined, knocking you out inside and out, and turning you around in this extraordinary book."–Terrance Hayes

"In this work that longs for and listens to 'real people ... not poem people, ' speakers speak of their fear and weakness as matters of fact–what it's like to walk with somebody alive and not what the metaphor of a 'universal' mouthpiece might make of them. This is no precious, immortal-aspirational monologue; no autocrat stone of finality; no poor folks as thought experiments. More fugue than state. More disturbance as the groove. If poems are for anything, I feel like it must be this."–Justin Phillip Reed

"Blood on the Fog is the illest artifact of time travel I've ever experienced. Tongo Eisen-Martin takes us to a tomorrow and yesterday where we stand–contorted and mangled–but oh so beautiful, faithful and free."–Kiese Laymon

"One of the inimitable operations here is to recalibrate the relationship with, Tongo writes, 'streets, ' or 'corner' or 'city.' It's a fact, therefore, that the poems stage a wild meta-conversation regarding the presumption that Black people are external to the art being practiced, the art in question. The flat terms of our dying are plainly in need of morphogenesis. Police. Bullet. Prison. I mean: 'Baby, if God doesn't care about what you are writing, it is time to un-die.' Black poetry has got to get its head around the deranged way language and the world expect us to be and live again. Tongo has figured this out, is feeling out how to vein the poem with his own life, and that's why I love his work."–Simone White

"San Francisco Poet Laureate is only a title unless you are willing to fight for a people's freedom. These poems be an archive of survival. These poems be a bridge. And they do the profound work of serving an eclipse of literary measure. Whether speaking rhyme in slant, calling forward Medgar Evers, or the spirituality of an oppressed people, Eisen-Martin offers stanza after stanza as a sunrise. Each poem leads us towards our liberation. This means these poems are heavy in their desire to free our current state of stoic apathy. This means Tongo Eisen-Martin's poetic legacy will live forever."–Mahogany L. Browne

"Like Aime Cesaire and Wanda Coleman, Eisen-Martin's poems spark and burst with images that dig deeply into the soil of power and culture, politics and survival, anger and justice. Eisen-Martin's poems feel both fresh and ancient, both powerful and approachable. A perfect addition to the storied City Lights Pocket Poets series."–Josh Cook, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

"Tongo Eisen-Martin's Blood on the Fog whirls through our world's 'pile of imperialist failings' in a pulsing, electric rhythm that leaves no room for despair, only for action."–Emma Ramadan, co-owner of Riffraff Bookstore & Bar, Providence, RI

"Every revolution needs its poets, and this is the office Eisen-Martin assumes in his latest work. Blood on the Fog services the movement by confronting the plethora of 'imperialist hybrids' produced by a 'carceral state mythology' at once fueled and funded by this nation's 'animated capitalism.' As such, the book is abolitionist in spirit, singing America in its political failings and triumphs alike. Though historically situated, these poems dare to dream toward a cageless world, one where the speakers are free to love as fiercely, and fearlessly, as they rage. An exacting, dynamic, and visionary collection to be regarded alongside other canonical, socially-conscious works."–Serena Morales, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY

"To read this collection is to in fact sit in the fog of a low cloud and somehow see a mirror. There are prayers at the heart of these poems that give us permission to yell at God, show him his creation, and demand a revolution. This work is a raucous devotion. It is a gesture toward an ineffable black humanity informed by the ghosts of Ancestors. Tongo Eisen-Martin is chasing the drums of our war songs and demanding rapture–demanding witness–demanding truth."–Christopher J. Greggs, Duende District Bookstore

"The polyrhythmic, polyvocal poems in Blood on the Fog have an amazing formal dexterity–sometimes cascading with the momentum of Tongo Eisen-Martin's surreal improvisations, sometimes 'slowing down the poem to the speed of sweet light, ' always alive with lyrical and revolutionary fire."–Michael Wendt, Woodland Pattern Book Center, Milwaukee, WI

***

Praise for Tongo Eisen-Martin and Heaven Is All Goodbyes:

"Eisen-Martin's impeccable collection is a crucial document of this time."–Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Eisen-Martin is singing in dark times about dark times. Every poem pops with rightly sad inscrutability"–Chicago Tribune

"Eisen-Martin's voice is a chorus of other voices, many arising from prisons and landscapes of engineered poverty; his poems are places where discourses and vernaculars collide and recombine into new configurations capable of expressing outrage and sorrow and love. This unpredictable volume is equally a work of commitment and of wonder; no false consolation, no settling for despair. Its music makes a clearing in the dominant logic of the day."–Griffin Poetry Prizes Judges' Citation

"The tesseraic language of Tongo Eisen-Martin's Heaven Is All Goodbyes brings a new, shared articulation to the intricacies and interconnections of grief and life, speech and site, state and inhabitant, violence and landscape. Here, polyvocal assemblages gather and revolt against our 'porcelain epoch / succeeding for the most part / dying for the most part / married for the most part to its death.' This is resistance as sound."–Claudia Rankine

"I don't know that there is a living writer whose work loves Black people as much as Tongo Eisen-Martin's work loves us. In Heaven Is All Goodbyes, like all of Eisen-Martin's work, this Black love is not clumsy, easy, sentimental or reliant on spectacle. That Black love lives in the cracked history and ambient future of who we've been in the dark, and what's been done to us in the light. These poems somehow watch and listen without intervening. And when they ask, they ask everything. Heaven Is All Goodbyes makes me want to live, and write, with us forever."–Kiese Laymon

"What a wonderful feeling for life. If we are born–we will die. If we love–we will be rejected. If we are rejected–we will leave. The balance of these poems, one against another, gives us laughter, love and hope. Heaven isn't goodbye–it's only the next stop on our heart's journey."–Nikki Giovanni

"Tongo Eisen-Martin's poems are echo chambers of vernaculars and unofficial languages. He both registers the damage caused by systemic racism and evinces–and by his work extends–the rich modes of resistance that rise up to meet it. His is a poetry of total commitment that never becomes merely programmatic and instead stretches the possibilities of meaning to the far edge of sense, where they become music."–Ben Lerner

"Yet again Tongo Eisen-Martin employs his blade-sharp intellect, his wry and piercing wit and unflinching candor to make poems that matter. This collection demands that the reader sees more than themselves–both on the page and in the surrounding world. The poems beg to be read aloud, to be pronounced as spells and incantations, as reports back from communities both known and shrouded. Read this work. Then read it again. Again. Again."–Chinaka Hodge author of Dated Emcees

"This striking new work from Tongo Eisen-Martin is a timely reminder of Amiri Baraka's call for poems that are useful, poems that breathe like wrestlers. At every turn, Heaven Is All Goodbyes demands that we engage the systemic violence woven into our daily living right alongside the persistent force that is black social life, the joy that everyday people cultivate against unthinkable odds. In a moment marked by cynicism and disenchantment, Eisen-Martin remains a believer: in the commons, in collective struggle, in our capacity to flourish in the midst of what we were never meant to survive."–Joshua Bennett, author of The Sobbing School

"Eisen-Martin's poetry presents a frank and unflinching portrait of the contemporary urban imagination unrelentingly ravaged by social injustice. He serves witness to how prevalent the imbalances of race and power in our society are."–American Poetry Review

More Reviews

Details

ISBN-10: 0872868753
ISBN-13: 9780872868755
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 09/17/2021
Dimensions: 6.20" L, 4.80" W, 0.60" H
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