*Congratulations, Bino! I can harldy wait to read your book! Your hard work and honesty are an inspiration. Sharp, gritty, romantic without sentimentality, incredibly detailed and visceral: all these things and more are the shape of your poetry*
Bino A. Realuyo's first poetry collection, The Gods We Worship Live Next Door wins the 2005 Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry and will be released February 2006.
Honoring the memory of a celebrated poet and a beloved teacher, the Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry is awarded annually and is sponsored by the University of Utah Press and the University of Utah Department of English. The competition is open to poets who have previously published book-length poetry collections, as well as unpublished poets.
From The Gods We Worship Live Next Door, a sample poem:
The silence. The silence.
The silence covers everything.
Teresa de Jesus
In this town, everybody bends all morning,
to bury an acre of fear each hour, to feed
the ground with all the words they will not say.
Another man was found last week: caned
powdered, tied with grass.
She was there: crawling on mud, hiding
behind a rock and spires of grass,
and days later, hiding from the memory
of faces and voices: the foundered glint of a man
in the sun, the broken words, wound upon wound,
the thin blur of those around him, their laughter,
the whippings, their tight grasp of their whips-
Is to speak of this to finally forget?
To speak of it is to know that so much here
remain hidden-the silence, the air,
all inhaled, kept inside, food for fear.
At twilight, dogs begin to bark. Broken twigs,
bullets and shadows flee between trees.
Not again. She cups her mouth, hoping
that there is no spill of blood, parts of limbs
scratching soil. She firmly holds herself,
latches the door with wood, tight as teeth.
Night seeps through bullet holes on the walls,
sits with her while she listens, wilting, on the chair.