Red, White, and Blues
“Once more Virgil Suárez and Ryan Van Cleave give us their astute and timely take on the state of affairs in contemporary America. Red, White, and Blues is a rich, readable, and wonderfully rewarding gathering of poetic voices—many of them new, all powerful—singing together in raucous harmony. It is never easy to be a countryman, a citizen, or a poet in this or any other nation; and these particularly vexed days bespeak the need for poets to sing the hard truths again and again, naming each beauty, each brutality, with equal measures of passion, conscience, and clarity.”—David Baker, author of Changeable Thunder
Red, White, and Blues, a new anthology from the award-winning editors of Like Thunder: Poets Respond to Violence in America and Vespers: Contemporary American Poems of Religion and Spirituality, offers a chorus of contemporary American poets on the idea of liberty, democracy, patriotism, and the American Dream; a twenty-first-century "Song of Myself” for the entire country.
The poems in Red, White, and Blues reflect our collective memory—from icons of pop culture to national disasters and times of unrest. Yet they are not simply reflections of the headline news or political diatribes of the day; instead, they provide roadmaps of American history—roadmaps of where we’ve been, who we are, and where we’re going as a nation.
Poets as diverse as Martín Espada and Paisley Rekdal, J. P. Dancing Bear and Vivian Shipley seek to answer questions that resonate within the heart of our national identity—what does it mean to be an American? What is the American Dream? How does one define patriotism? Regardless of ethnicity, gender, or class, each poet’s answer to such questions proves that our experiences unite us more than they divide us.
Red, White, and Blues is an ambitious collection of the finest contemporary poetry on the subject of America and the indefatigable spirit of its citizens. Its poems don’t pull punches, nor do they celebrate without cause. They show spirit and excitement, outrage and joy, solemnity and ambiguity—all reflections of our wonderfully diverse nation.
Beth Ann Fennelly
Nance Van Winckel