Details

ISBN-10: 0872867587
ISBN-13: 9780872867581
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 03/27/2018
Dimensions: 7.00" L, 5.50" W, 0.40" H

Published by City Lights

Cruel Futures: City Lights Spotlight No. 17

Price: $15.95 $11.17

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Overview

A Latina feminist State of the Union address at the intersection of pop culture and interiority.

Cruel Futures is a witchy confessional and wildly imagistic volume that examines subjects as divergent as Alzheimers, Medusa, mumblecore, and mental illness in sharp-witted, taut poems dense with song. Chronicling life on an endangered planet, in a country on the precipice of profound change compelled by a media machine that produces our realities, the book is a high-energy analysis of popular culture, as well as an exploration of the many social roles that women occupy as mother, daughter, lover, and the resulting struggle to maintain personhood–all in a late capitalist America.

Praise for Cruel Futures:

Giménez Smith seeks release from the pressures of societal expectations in this collection of brief yet powerful poems. … Giménez Smith’s crisp lyrics and imagery highlight ever-present threats to female personhood and autonomy.–Publishers Weekly

Cruel Futures is one of those rare books, rare pieces of art, that manages to be extremely intimate, vulnerable and close while also doing a kind of searing cultural critique. The poems can be tender or ironic, and sometimes a blending of the two, which is not easy.–Ross Gay

In the body, through the lyric, and twitching with every sense of the word ‘nerve, ‘ this book sings a mongrel nation into and across its cruel futures. Like Neruda in his Plenos Poderes/Full Powers, Giménez Smith has all the mastery she needs to cast a cold eye on her positioning, and ours. In this way Cruel Futures is an autobiography that won’t stay in its genre or premise, caring less to author a self than to follow turns of magic in words that might soothe our ‘collisions with the living.’–Farid Matuk

Declamatory anthems to no nation, these songs stride as they deal and wheel with skin and kin: history, catastrophe, the body, love. ‘Upturned and defiant, all types of shade, no outskirt, / vital like a saint, ‘ the poems in Cruel Futures shimmer with Giménez Smith’s lyric attention: full of grit, sharp and knowing.–Hoa Nguyen

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Reviews

Giménez Smith's poems in Cruel Futures continue the work of truth telling that she established in her previous collections. She reminds us that our cruel pasts will lead to cruel futures, that the garbage we've consumed from television and the non-stop media cycle will color and pollute our perceptions. But in looking unflinchingly at the broken remains of the public and the personal, she also assures us that there is something to be built from the rubble. Whether she is speaking as the quick-witted badass who has 'a machete and a hot head' or the thoughtful 'friend who has walked / alongside your life without judgment, ' you want her in your corner.–Boston Review

Giménez Smith seeks release from the pressures of societal expectations in this collection of brief yet powerful poems. She depicts the myriad ways that a woman's sense of self is at the mercy of assigned gender roles. ... She links the concept of becoming a 'monster' to women's defiance of prescribed roles, their need to break out of which makes them dangerous ... Cultural phenomena such as marriage and television come under scrutiny, and she handles mental illness issues with great care, particularly bipolar disorder and dementia. Giménez Smith's crisp lyrics and imagery highlight ever-present threats to female personhood and autonomy.–Publishers Weekly

In Carmen Giménez Smith's Cruel Futures, it's clear she is not interested in the kind of static attention one associates with William Wordsworth's definition of poetry as 'emotion recollected in tranquillity.' Instead Giménez Smith has places to go and then to take off from again, in the form, mainly, of social and political critiques. Although her poems achieve a certain velocity, she still manages to delve into volcanic meaning and bask in the mirror of self-reflection. To truly relish her talent is to understand her intellect as one of those plasma balls that lights up with bolts of electricity when one's hand touches it. The speakers in her poems are charming, self-deprecating, humorous, and awed, especially when they portray what life is like as a mother, a wife, an artist, and a consumer of popular culture and literature. Because Giménez Smith experiments with a thicker set of references and inferential imagery than most, poems such as 'Of Property, ' 'As Body, ' and 'Ravers Having Babies' seem to outpace whatever triggered their origin, and she almost always arrives at pure lyric possession."–Major Jackson, American Poets

Though the world of Giménez Smith's poems is late-capitalist America, it's striking to see how much of an apocalyptic quality the collection has. hellip; Giménez Smith's speaker challenges us to consider that we have certain notions of both sex and gender based on age, that women of a certain age feel terror when confronting their own femininity. ... the collection urges us to be proactive in confronting these harmful notions.–Dorothy Chan, The Cincinnati Review

Cruel Futures is irresistible in its candid, spicy, ceaselessly surprising, totally unashamed self- shaming. 'I want no window into me, not even pores, ' she writes, but her poetry is loud with flung-open shutters and windows. ... Giménez Smith is so spirited that she would be anybody's hero excepting perhaps her more assimilated children, whose doubts of her she writes about with hilarious honesty. She is at once vulnerable and fearless, full of fun, a headlong, natural performer. Exaggeration is her muse. The writing could equally be described as poetry and cut-up scrappy prose; but it escapes the low pressure and general disesteem of the latter through panicky pacing, an edgy breathlessness that remembers terrors and hurts. ... The disregard of gracefulness, the knocking roughness here as throughout, agrees with the no-bullshit temper of the times. I find that it is itself a tricky form of grace, of elegance and poise. Everything Giménez Smith writes compels attention ...–Lana Turner

"[I]t's Smith's control of the line, the lyric, her use of compression, wry humor, and pointed candor that makes the book's captivation one that truly endures. She delves into familial issues: child-rearing, sick or aging parents, and mental health with care and magnanimous transparency. Cruel Futures is an insurmountable labor that Smith has carved from a world of grief, but retains love and humor that renders her devotion a masterpiece."–The Arkansas International

"[Giménez Smith's] new collection that explores the intersections of her various identities and the contrasts between the roles she plays and has played at stages in her life. These poems are rooted in the daily details of her life, and hold a tangible immediacy and frankness that departs from the abstractions of her 2013 collection Milk & Filth. ... There is tremendous power in Cruel Futures, a collection both supple in its vulnerabilities and firm in its defenses. Carmen Giménez Smith has survived her own story, and she has ensured her children have survived their own thus far. The book's tension comes from her awareness that her power to continue to ensure that survival is evaporating from her hands, reconstituting in their own."–David Nilsen, The Bind

Media distortion, mental illness, trauma, and oppression are among the fixations of this splendid, fierce, and essential new book by Carmen Giménez Smith, who shrewdly documents a woman's passage into and through these crucibles. ... Giménez Smith's self-inquiry drills down relentlessly until it reaches central, molten truths.–Marietta Brill, The Adirondack Review

Cruel Futures is an astonishingly present imagistic exploration of aging, familial bonds, and mothering in the context of late capitalism. Giménez Smith's poems, sparkling with pop culture and gleaming with intelligence, unpretentiously welcome the reader into mortality, grief, and nurturing, while deftly highlighting how these human conditions are shaped by the race, gender, and class of those who experience them.–Luiza Flynn-Goodlett, The Adroit Journal

Cruel Futures is kinder than its title suggests, and steely. ... I am so ready to go over this with a teenage relative who is half-Irish, one-quarter-Chinese, one-quarter-Filipina and so much more fabulous than she thinks, despite encouragement from loved ones and teachers. It goes without saying, though sometimes Giménez Smith thinks she has to, that this poem, this writer, this girl are all deeply American. This is vital language for our time.–The Rumpus

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Details

ISBN-10: 0872867587
ISBN-13: 9780872867581
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 03/27/2018
Dimensions: 7.00" L, 5.50" W, 0.40" H
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