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2019 Summer Reading

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Summer Reading 2019: Forging a Language for the Poetry of Newark

In 'Wild Invocations,' Ysabel Y. González delivers poems as gritty and as graceful as New Jersey's largest city

Wild Invocations

Regular readers of NJ Spotlight know that August is our time for kicking back and taking advantage of the lull in the news cycle. To tide you over during our summer hiatus, we’re posting excerpts from books by New Jersey authors or with Garden State hooks. We’ll be back tanned and ready on September 3.

In “Wild Invocations,” a book that encompasses the dead and the living, enemies and friends and family, poet Ysabel Y. González delivers passionate, challenging poems that are as a various as her home city of Newark.

Brick City
for Newark, New Jersey

Brick City babies came out their mothers shaped like stone,
the kind of red that takes root in skyscrapers,
kind of uncrumbled piece you think deserves the paint

And now a renaissance brims, constructed out of
gutted ground for the rich    But Brown & Black
always get to give grit, right?


Fight for recycled buildings that were once neglected
but we held strapped to our backs, right?
We love our cities over and over until they’re taken from us,


reassembled & called new
But our refusal to burn is what keeps us
& the thought


of how much smiling we’re going to do
when they find us blended into murals    Find us in the foundation,
find us in the city’s parks & statues, street signs

holding revolution Find us
in the stories they’re unable to raze

Author photograph courtesy of Get Fresh Books LLC.

Brick City from Wild Invocations by Ysabel Y. González. Copyright © 2019 by Ysabel Y. González. Reprinted by permission of Get Fresh Books LLC.

Purchase this book at Get Fresh Books LLC.

Ysabel Y. González was born in the Bronx and raised in Newark. She received her BA from Rutgers University and an MFA in Poetry from Drew University and serves as the Assistant Director for the Poetry Program at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. González is a CantoMundo Fellow. Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications, including Origins Journal, Tinderbox Journal, Anomaly (FKA Drunken Boat), DMQ Review, El Centro: Nuyorican Women Writers, The Wide Journal, Waxwing Literary Journal, Acentos Review, Huizache, Kalyani Magazine, APIARY Magazine, and phati'tude Literary Magazine.

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