Details

ISBN-10: 0872868753
ISBN-13: 9780872868755
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 09/21/2021
Dimensions: 6.20" L, 4.80" W, 0.60" H

Published by City Lights

Blood on the Fog: Pocket Poets Series No. 62

Paperback

Price: $15.95 $11.17

In stock

Overview

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.

“Words are not the revolution itself, Eisen-Martin seems to say, and yet this book disturbed me more than any other I read this year. It reminds me that poetry can rewire our thinking–can actually change our minds–by using nothing like the rote language we’re so used to hearing in speech and in prose. It can jolt us out of patterns, back into intelligence.”–The New York Times, “The Best Poetry of 2021″

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.

2021 Golden Poppy Award Winner for Poetry – Chosen by the California Independent Booksellers Alliance

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

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Reviews

2021 Golden Poppy Award Winner for Poetry - Chosen by the California Independent Booksellers Alliance

Praise for Blood on the Fog:

"Words are not the revolution itself, Eisen-Martin seems to say, and yet this book disturbed me more than any other I read this year. It reminds me that poetry can rewire our thinking–can actually change our minds–by using nothing like the rote language we're so used to hearing in speech and in prose. It can jolt us out of patterns, back into intelligence."–Elisa Gabbert, The New York Times

"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

"It's been four years since Tongo Eisen-Martin's feted Heaven Is All Goodbyes, and since then he's become Poet Laureate of San Francisco as well as co-founder of Black Freighter Press. Even without such formal and formidable titles, Eisen-Martin has long spoken for the many souls of that city, in sonically complex and visually unforgettable poems that resist summarization or easy description."–Chicago Review of Books

"The explosive poetry of San Francisco Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen Martin exists in a category, nay, dimension all its own. His work is not exactly political poetry as conventionally contrived, since it doesn't bash the reader over the head with obvious polemical intent. Rather, his poems expose the terrifying truths therein by way of jarring juxtapositions and brutally shocking or even humorously coded images. ... Indeed, Eisen-Martin is a powerhouse poet whose vivid, scorching satire is humane to the core. He subverts the way that political poetry is presented and calls for a smashing of the state that is so imprisoning for so many."–PopMatters

"To see San Francisco's eighth poet laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin read is to get a crash course on how poetry can be a wholly embodied art form. Dynamic and assured, Eisen-Martin inhabits the living, breathing margins of his poems sometimes as a warrior, sometimes as a ghost; sometimes an explosion, sometimes as a wisp of smoke. In his third book, Blood in the Fog, he reveals the layers of a revolutionary experience from the inside out, excavating family histories, fragments of song, Black power and Marxist theory, structural violence and the candor of the street with richly invoked language and intricate form."–KQED

"Eisen-Martin writes surreal stanzas merging reality, social justice, and revolutionary bars into a swinging register ... His poetic sketches on gentrification, genocide, and local precincts defamiliarize conventional wisdom into post-postmodern testaments 'in increments of eclipse.' These poems go electric, like Hendrix erasing the Mason-Dixon line mapping a new world 'out on this lightning.'"–L.A. Taco

"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, author of The Dawning of the Apocalypse and Moores Professor of History and African American Studies, University of Houston

"'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, author of American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin

"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, author of The Malevolent Volume and Indecency

"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, author of Heavy: An American Memoir

"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, author of Dear Angel of Death and Of Being Dispersed

"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, author of Chlorine Sky and I Remember Death By Its Proximity to What I Love

"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

More Reviews

Details

ISBN-10: 0872868753
ISBN-13: 9780872868755
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 09/21/2021
Dimensions: 6.20" L, 4.80" W, 0.60" H
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