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Jesús Castillo has created a sprawling contemporary epic that channels the mighty voices of the past (Ovid, Sappho) into a plainspoken song of our times. In a deft, generous style, Castillo takes hold of the stuff of our everyday lives and converts it into modern manna. The book is lovingly relentless, quietly piercing. It is a terrifyingly recognizable call: it is filled with all of our voices, our panic, our modern love, our screens, our roommate’s cough, our melting icebergs, our planes and malls and frailties. Castillo writes,
This is a test. A set of margins created for company. For waiting in train stations or asking a stranger the time. You’re allowed to freak out this much only. There’s a green car parked outside, by the curb, near the bike racks. An old man is asking people to put change in his plastic cup, and I remember my name contains both my father’s and grandfather’s stories. The table I’m sitting at is made of steel and marble. It’s cold and it’s spring. In the song on the radio, a noise
Jesús Castillo was born in 1986 in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. He moved to California with his parents and sister in 1998. In 2009, he graduated from UC San Diego where he studied literature and writing. He has lived in Oceanside, La Jolla, Oakland, and San Francisco. He helped organize Lectric Collective, an art and poetry collaboration in the Bay Area, and he’s a founding editor of Vertebrae. He currently lives in Iowa, where he’s attending the University of Iowa’s MFA program for poetry.