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The Work-Shy

“The language of The Work-Shy cuts straight through, as sharp and alive as the eyes that peer out from its photographs. ‘Our words are like people,’ one inmate declares—people who change our hearts. Yet suddenly we realize that each poem rivers across the page, where we can either drown or float, and the tension between leaves us gasping for air.”
—Carmen Gimenez-Smith, author of Milk and Filth


The Work-Shy is a remarkable sequence of poems composed by way of writing practices that restore the possibilities for lyric poetry and its historical imagination, using documentary techniques and a principled cultural poetics. The poems are commanding verbal performances that reveal how institutions are empowered to confiscate meaning from the most vulnerable. To read these poems is to come face to face with the contemporary cruelties of historical means. The result is heartbreaking.”
—Roberto Tejada, author of Full Foreground

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