Senegal Taxi
112 pages, 6 x 9
6 illust.
Paperback
Release Date:21 Mar 2013
ISBN:9780816530151
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Senegal Taxi

SERIES:
The University of Arizona Press
“I wish I could find the words to tell you the story of our village after you were killed.” So begins Senegal Taxi, the new work by one of contemporary poetry’s most vibrant voices, Juan Felipe Herrera. Known for his activism and writings that bring attention to oppression and injustice, Herrera turns to stories of genocide and hope in Sudan. Senegal Taxi offers the voices of three children escaping the horrors of war in Africa.

Unflinching in its honesty, brutality, and beauty, the collection fiercely addresses conflict and childhood, inviting readers to engage in complex and often challenging issues. Senegal Taxi weaves together verse, dialogue, and visual art created by Herrera specifically for the book. Stylistically genre-leaping, these many layers are part of the collection’s innovation. Phantom-like televisions, mud drawings, witness testimonies, insects, and weaponry are all storytellers that join the siblings for a theatrical crescendo. Each poem is told from a different point of view, which Herrera calls “mud drawings,” referring to the evocative symbols of hope the children create as they hide in a cave on their way to Senegal, where they plan to catch a boat to the United States.

This collection signals a poignant shift for Herrera as he continues to use his craft to focus attention on global concerns. In so doing, he offers an acknowledgment that the suffering of some is the suffering of all.
Juan Felipe Herrera is a noted writer, performer, poet, and playwright. He is a professor in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. Herrera was educated at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Stanford University, and has an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has published twenty-eight volumes of poetry, prose, theater, children’s books, and young adult novels, including 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971–2007 (2007); Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press, 2008), which was a recipient of the PEN/ Beyond Margins Award and was a winner of the National Book Critics Circle award in poetry; and Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box (2005). He is the winner of over fifty awards, fellowships, and honorable mentions, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Poetry Fellowship in 2010, the PEN USA Award in Poetry, the Hungry Mind Award of Distinction, the Ezra Jack Keats Award, two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry awards, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the University of California at Berkeley Regent’s Fellowship, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council; he is a New York Times Notable. He was appointed California poet laureate in March 2012 and is the first Chicano writer to serve in the post.
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