IRDA Winning Author Carlos Andrés Gómez: “HIJITO is an uncompromising reckoning with race, gender, sexuality, parenthood, and violence.”

 

Hijito was the winner in the Poetry category of the 2020 IndieReader Discovery Awards, where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference.

Following find an interview with author Carlos Andrés Gómez.

What is the name of the book and when was it published? 

Hijito was published by Platypus Press in the U.K. in 2019.

What’s the book’s first line?

“I am enthralled by the image…” from the collection’s titular poem, “Hijito” (for Michael Brown, Jr.)

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

Here’s my publisher’s writeup:

In Hijito—selected by Eduardo C. Corral as winner of the 2018 Broken River Prize—Carlos Andrés Gómez writes of brutality and beauty with the same urgency and with a truth that burns readily; it is a collection of survival instincts. As a vital and tender exploration and deconstruction of contemporary society, his poetry engages with America’s ever-changing landscape and the ways in which race, gender, and violence coalesce. Called “powerful, truthful, and sublime” by Dr. Cornel West, Gómez’s words are a necessary paean to hope and courage in the modern world.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

This book was inspired by the joy and anguish of raising my two Black children during this particularly fraught moment in America.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the central speaker of this book?

Probably that it’s me. All the stories in this collection are rooted in autobiography.

What’s the main reason someone should read this book? 

Hijito is an uncompromising reckoning with race, gender, sexuality, parenthood, and violence. Put differently, this is a book that refuses to look away from the most pressing issues of our fractured political landscape.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

I also wrote a memoir, Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood, which was released by Penguin Random House in 2012.  This fall, the University of Wisconsin Press will be releasing my full-length poetry collection, Fractures, which was just selected by Natasha Trethewey as the winner of the 2020 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

My two favorite writers of all-time are Toni Morrison and Gabriel García Márquez.