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The PdS Black Voices Series Presents: JAKI SHELTON GREEN

                                                                               mothers   become shroud dirty rags of a holy book that supposedly forgot to stand vigil over our children ransomed to sun beneath each month’s moon hidden or full the daughters of other mothers themselves likely near death send us prayer shawls send us poems send us slabs of crystals a mother opens her mouth it is always wailing blood metallic bullets ride the mucous in her throat tease the pregnant ball of fire brewing inside her head we open our mouths to allow the blood to speak through light that does not choke the blood speaks through…

From the Archives: “The Rift Between Us” by Cynthia Hogue

Cynthia Hogue’s “The Rift Between Us” appeared in Puerto del Sol in the summer of 1996. In this poem, Hogue probes the growing distance between two lovers, evoking not a relationship gone wrong, but the steady disappearance of moments and the disappearing of a future together: “We’ll have a moments of silence / to commemorate the rift / between now and forever”. Here, Hogue makes sure the reader understands it isn’t the space between us that is unsettling, but a future which does not include you. Since publishing in Puerto del Sol, Hogue was awarded the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award in 2013, and she has…

Weekend Reading: Lit Links

Here are a few things we read across the web this week. Enjoy! If you’re on Twitter, you probably already read or at least heard about Emma Brockes’ interview with Jonathan Franzen for The Guardian. While we can’t speak for Franzen’s forthcoming novel Purity, the interview is quite quotable, if not the most flattering. Longreads posted a previously unpublished story by Danish author Dorthe Nors. Contributing editor A. N. Devers writes of Nors’ work, “Although her stories are quite short, they are flashes of sharp and bright light into the otherwise obscure and dark corners of life.” The story is titled “Hygge: The Dark Side of…

From the Archives: “To Texarkana and Back Again” by Deborah LaPorte

Deborah LaPorte’s “To Texarkana and Back Again” first appeared in Puerto del Sol‘s Fall 1988 issue, 24.1. In the story, the narrator is pushed to her limit by her mean-spirited daughter in a clash rooted deep in their pasts. The narrator’s voice is striking, effortlessly evoking the accented twang so commonly heard in west Texas, but the story shines brightest in its unexpected inversion of country western cliches, and in its consideration of maternity, blood ties, and the ways in which we are capable of alienating those to whom we are presumed to be closest. LaPorte taught composition and literature courses…

Author Spotlight: Lee K. Abbott

For decades, writer Lee K. Abbott has been dazzling readers with vivid prose, weirdo narrators, and the kind of attention to strange details that make his stories pop with truth. In addition to being a highly celebrated short story writer and essayist, Abbott is also a respected teacher within the academic community, influencing countless students with his sharp, witty, and straight-on-brilliant feedback. When Abbott was still an aspiring young writer and student in the English Department at New Mexico State University, he worked on the early version of Puerto del Sol. He returned to his alma mater as a Distinguished…

From the Archives: Blas Falconer’s “A Ride in the Rain”

Blas Falconer’s poetry first appeared in Puerto del Sol‘s Spring 1998 issue. “A Ride in the Rain” is a pantoum, and the poem’s circling imagery serves to both obscure and elucidate the poem’s I. The recursive nature of the form is enhanced, and with each new spiral the poem feels as if it is tightening its coil around the I, holding it in place. The poem moves without moving and tells without telling anything at all. Since his Puerto debut, Falconer has published three books, The Foundling Wheel (Four Way Press, 2012), A Question of Gravity and Light (University of Arizona Press, 2007), and The Perfect…

The PdS Black Voices Series Presents: SHAUNA TULLOCH

            A few good words with Shauna PDS: Both pieces featured here utilize image. How do you see these renderings speaking to the text of the poems? How did your interaction with these charged images effect the way in which you conceptualized the poem? What came first, the poem or the picture? ST: As a Black child, my understanding of “hangman” was quite complex and unique. My first understanding of the term developed from the simple, innocent game that I played amongst my peers. The second meaning, however, dealt with black bodies as they hung…

From the Archives: “Aubade in Blue” by Sam Witt

In our 50th anniversary issue, we featured Sam Witt’s creative nonfiction piece, “Inside the Iraq War Flag Requiem: The Order for the Burial of the Dead (2007),” a work that defies genre in its episodic structure and melding of prose and poetic language. Similarly, Witt’s “Aubade in Blue,” which appeared in our Spring 1998 issue, plays with narrative while evoking visceral, half-bent scenes that make the body tense, pulled taut by the poem’s unwavering language. Since then, Witt has published two collections, Everlasting Quail (2001) and Sunflower Brother (2007), the latter of which included “Aubade in Blue.” He currently teaches at Framingham…

From the Archives: D. A. Powell’s “(you’re thin again handsome. in our last)”

“(you’re thin again handsome. in our last)” first appeared in Puerto del Sol‘s Summer, 1996 issue. Two years later, D. A. Powell would publish the first collection in a trilogy, Tea (Wesleyan University Press, 1998), followed by Lunch (also WUP, 2000) and Cocktails (Graywolf Press, 2004). Just last winter, the trilogy was released as a single volume entitled Repast: Tea, Lunch, & Cocktails (Graywolf Press, 2014), prompting a reexamination of Powell’s earlier works. The poem reprinted here appeared in Lunch and, like the books as a whole, is and isn’t about AIDS. The series focuses instead on the way in which life continues and survives in…

The PdS Black Voices Series Presents: TERI CROSS DAVIS

  The Handicapped Stall   When most 13-year olds don’t want to be seen with their parents my mother is pushing my brother into the women’s bathroom. For a moment I don’t recognize her. It’s only the familiarity of her motions that brings   it all back. She bathes my brother, changes his diapers and this is why we are here, running into each other in the second floor bathroom at Cleveland Clinic, as we await yet another surgery for Tyler. I ask if she   wants help. This is not a desire, not a thought, just what you do…

From the Archives: Two Poems by Naomi Shihab Nye

In the spring of 1981, two poems by Naomi Shihab Nye appeared in Puerto del Sol. Nye had published her first poetry collection, Different Ways to Pray, the year before and would soon publish a chapbook, followed by her second collection, Hugging the Jukebox. In the years since, Nye has become an internationally renowned poet, teacher, and activist. We were delighted when she agreed to participate in our 50th anniversary issue, and we are so proud to reprint the poems as they appeared in the pages of Puerto del Sol nearly 35 years ago. One Blueberry on a White Clay Plate you can’t eat it it’s…

From the Archives: “Our First Drug Was Fire” by Sonya Huber

We were honored to welcome Sonya Huber back to the pages of Puerto del Sol in our 50th anniversary issue with her creative nonfiction piece, “Oh Dentra, My Dentra!” Huber was first featured in our Winter 2013 issue with her essay, “Our First Drug Was Fire,” and we also interviewed her as a part of our Author Spotlight series.The essay itself speaks to Huber’s experience with her young son’s anti-drug workbook, a too-cheery thing titled “Too Good for Drugs,” as she grapples with the fears and anxieties it induces. She uses her experience as a lens through which to consider the…