Annal: 2009 Walt Whitman Award

Results of the Walt Whitman Award in the year 2009.

Book:Heredities: Poems

Heredities: Poems

J. Michael Martinez

In his award-winning first book, J. Michael Martinez reenvisions Latino poetics and its current conceptions of cultural identity. In Heredities, he opens a historically ravaged continental body through a metaphysical dissection into Being and silence. The hand manipulates a surgical etymology through the spine: the longitude where “history gathers in the name we never are.” The poems seek to speak beyond codified aesthetics and dictated identity politics in order to recognize a territory of “irreducible otherness” where the self’s sinew may be “reeved through revelation” and where, finally, one finds “obscurity bonded to light.” This stunning collection heralds the arrival of an important new voice in American poetry.

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