Synopses & Reviews
This gripping suite of twelve dreams, infused with the conflict along the border of Mexico and the United States, traces humanity’s addiction to violence and killing—from boys stepping on ants to men shooting animals, men shooting women, men shooting enemies. The Dreams begin in a desert landscape where poverty and wealth grate against each other, and the ever present war becomes “as invisible as the desert sands we trample on.” The dreams, however, move toward a greater peace with Sáenz providing an unforgettable reading experience.
From “The Fourth Dream: Families and Flags and Revenge”:
I don’t believe a flag
enough to kiss—
or even burn.
Some men would hate me
enough to kill me
if they read these words.
“Rage,” Sáenz said in an interview, “must be a component of any writer’s life. But this rage must also be contained—otherwise our very bodies will become chaos—our minds will become chaos. We need order.” Sáenz finds that order in poems, transforming his rage into something “more beautiful and gracious and forgiving.”
Poet and novelist Benjamin Sáenz has written 10 books of poetry and prose, most recently In Perfect Light (HarperCollins). He was a Catholic priest, doing missionary and charity work in London, Tanzania, and the barrio parishes of El Paso, Texas. Upon leaving the priesthood, he was awarded a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. He teaches in the MFA program at University of Texas, El Paso.
"Divided into twelve 'dreams,' Sáenz's direct and moving book-length poem traces the outline of his own life-he was raised Mexican-American in New Mexico, and has now settled in El Paso along the same border-as it highlights his own commitment to nonviolence, in verse that includes, but goes beyond, topical protest. To do so, Sáenz explores violence: by terrorists against civilians, by law enforcement personnel against immigrants, by consumers and companies against the animals we take for our food. Acclaimed as a YA author as well as a poet, Sáenz (Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood) seeks and sometimes finds an ethical clarity and a heartfelt tone that suggests, variously, William Stafford, and Li-Young Lee. 'I dream my sisters and brothers/ have no debts,' Sáenz writes, 'I dream that all/ the wars are done,' 'that/ nations do not matter.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Acclaimed novelist and poet Sáenz creates an emotionally charged poem-cycle that moves beyond vengeance into understanding
Poetry. This gripping suite of 12 dreams, infused with the conflict along the border of Mexico and the United States, traces humanity's addiction to violence and killing--from boys stepping on ants to men shooting animals, men shooting women, men shooting enemies. The dreams begin in a desert landscape where poverty and wealth grate against each other, and the ever-present war becomes "as invisible as the desert sands we trample on." The dreams, however, move toward a greater peace, with Saenz providing an unforgettable reading experience.
About the Author
A former Catholic priest, Benjamin Sáenz, has published five books of poetry, four novels, a collection of short stories, and two bilingual children's books. He received the American Book Award, and teaches in the MFA program at University of Texas, El Paso.