Montoya—who passed away in May—had an instinctive grasp of who needed to hear poetry and what a poem should do when it got to them. These are not the words of a self-satisfied, snobbish elite that's more concerned with grant money than speaking the truth about the world. These are poems that are not afraid to get their hands dirty. Who are these poems for? Montoya himself tells us: "when i go to city hall/and read the poetry of their lies/they say, 'this is not the place for poems.'/so i find myself singing to alleys and trash cans,/to ants and the crushed peach of their affection./all i have is the park and the trees and the swings/to sing about the imminent return of justice." These are poems for the rest of us.
The iceworker sings and other poems by Andres Montoya; Bilingual Press. 86 pages. $9 softcover.