Item description for Controlled Decay (Black Goat) by Gabriela Jauregui & Chris Abani...
"Remarkable. . . . Gabriela Jauregui displays perfect pitch: Her lyrics are impressive in their scope, range, empathy-and especially their authentic passion."-Marjorie Perloff , author of 21st-Century Modernism
Gabriela Jauregui was born in Mexico City. Her work has been published in Mexico, the United States, and Europe. She is a Paul and Daisy Soros New American Fellow and a PhD candidate at the University of Southern California.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 9" Weight: 0.42 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 2008
Publisher Akashic Books
ISBN 1933354526 ISBN13 9781933354521
Availability 0 units.
More About Gabriela Jauregui & Chris Abani
Gabriela Jauregui (b. 1979) was born and raised in Mexico City. Her work has been published in magazines, journals, and anthologies in Mexico, the U.S., and Europe. She graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside and holds an MA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of California, Irvine.
Reviews - What do customers think about Controlled Decay (Black Goat)?
Blending elements of narrative, thought processes, and open rhythm Jul 10, 2008
Mexican-born poet Gabriela Jauregui presents Controlled Decay, her debut poetry collection. The works range in setting from Jauregui's native Mexico City to a dance hall in East Los Angeles to a steam bath in Morocco to the quietude of the grave. Blending elements of narrative, thought processes, and open rhythm, Controlled Decay taps into the immense power of human consciousness and the eternal story that is the endless circle of life. "For Nietzsche": Between truth and fiction / a soap washes/clears ambiguity / dispels/destroys ambivalence / a vegetable soap / that leaves no trace / clean / like a button / ripped from an overcoat / on a winter morning.
A Great Debut May 16, 2008
This is a dazzling debut by a writer whose imagery and command of language puts her easily in the company of some of the best poetry being written today. Jauregui is a writer who knows how to work with the blank space of the page--she knows when to rush words together, creating a crush of language that presses against you ("Get On Down to the Floor to the Heaven of Other Animals"), and she knows when to pull back, to allow the silence of the white space inform a single image or a whispered line (like the "Loku" poems, which read almost like haiku). Alongside this is Jauregui's willingness to question what it means to be human and to have a body--the sections are named "Dust," "Bone," "Fat," "Enamel," and "Nail." No "Heart" or "Brain" here; this is writing which goes for the substance of the body itself. In this her writing shares affinities with Jeanette Winterson, W. G. Sebald, Toni Morrison, and others who have rescued meaning from detritus, and given us new ways to think about how we move in the world around us. The perspective of animals inhabits the same space as that of humanity, in ways which allow Jauregui to examine where the line between us and other creatures exists (if it exists at all). All this without losing a light touch and an energetic style. I've been reading this book nonstop for the past week....
Poetry anyone can enjoy!!! May 15, 2008
I have to admit, I don't usually read a lot of poetry, but a couple of weeks ago I was at the LA Times Festival of Books and I saw Jauregui's book in the Akashic Books tent. The cover was breathtaking and it seemed to me everyone who walked by was buying a copy, so I grabbed one before they were all gone. I am so glad I did. Every poem in this book is its own wonderful story - some are pretty, some are grotesque, all are entertaining. You have to read them slowly, one at a time, and then savor the aftertaste the way you might enjoy an expensive chocolate or a great cut of beef. This poetry gets inside you. It infiltrates past the point where so many other writers find themselves unable to penetrate. It goes beyond your resistance - so to reject it's grotesqueness or its dance rhythms or its life experience would entail rejecting your own, and instead, because she makes it so clear in her telling that this is a celebration, we embrace rather than reject - and that's where the triumph comes--both for Jauregui and for her reader. It doesn't matter if you don't like poetry - if you want to experience life through the careful and passionate perspective of someone who might just have seen something you missed, if you have any sort of appreciation for language, if you want to read something meaningful - this book is for you.
Gruesome and Gorgeous First Book of Poetry! May 14, 2008
There is something for everyone in this fierce first book of poetry by Gabriela Jauregui. Terrance Hayes states it nicely in the introduction, when he writes: "Mirroring the mouths with spit, kiss, eat, and swallow in these pages, Controlled Decay is fierce and sensual, consuming and consumed. These poems are full of vitality. This is vital poetry." I can't recommend this book enough, especially for those who are politically-minded, globally-oriented, into genre-bending, and have a strong affinity for the grotesque. I for one can't wait to see what this writer does next!
A Convulsion of Pleasure May 14, 2008
Black Goat Books sounds like a promising imprint for the always questing Akashic Press, and it is always good to see a small press make a determined attempt to create new audiences for poetry. During a recent visit to Los Angeles, I picked up a copy of Gabriela Jauregui's CONTROLLED DECAY and ever since that moment when the book fell into my hands, I have been exclaiming to everyone within the sound of my voice my delight in discovering this accomplished and talented young writer, whose work explodes in a bevy of disparate directions.
I wasn't crazy about Terrance Hayes' introduction, but introductions to books of poetry are always going to rub a certain kind of reader the wrong way, limiting our response to a certain set of already constrictions, square holes for round pegs. In this case, Hayes's thesis states that that Jauregui's poems "gaze upon us, our surfaces," instead of the way the surfaces of others' poems are gazed on by the reader. Some poems are brick walls, some are mirrors, and Juaregui's are in Hayes' third category--they are eyeballs observing the reader. I find this formulation exactly wrong; that is exactly what these poems are not. I can't even think what gazing would mean in this metaphor, but it would imply a sort of android life for poems, for how else would they actually be able to perform this "gazing" on the mere humans who created them. Oh well, in other ways Hayes' generous response to this work is soundly argued, and he has the gift for pulling precisely the right quotes from the work that will best make his point. I defy anyone to begin Jauregui's book and feel unmoved, the long ecstatic lines of the opening piece work like a pair of hands pulling you onto the dancefloor, into an irresistible beat. In this space "the dust that I am can be banished for some time, the power of voice of eyelashes and mirror smile will clean it off the dance floor if only for a moment." Why, this is like me under the influence of heavy doses of Kylie Minogue, only expressed more beautifully and persuasively than I can hope to do. Elsewhere the poetry manages to work on more minimal, nearly Objectivist levels of precise imagery, even when its ostensible subject is distortion, enshroudment, or the high crimes of history, such as in the agonistic "Bou Arfa," with its short and enervated line, its multiple languages, its nomadic and deracinated vocalizations like the blues of a lifetime.
Helpful notes explain that "Bou Arfa" (in Morocco) was the site of a Nazi-Fascist penal camp for captured resistance fighters during the days of the Spanish Civil War, so the misery was international, multi-vocal, and the wrong done never-ending.
Gabriela Juaregui divides her book into five sections, each specifying a particular organic entity, which the verse re-poses as different prisms through which life may be experienced: first comes the "Dust" of history and of biology (vide Philip Pullman); then the "Bone" of negation and of shape ("I'm freezing/ and without appetite")' in the middle a Beuysian "Fat" acts as a slave of recuperation and rescue. Two final sections, "Enamel" and "Nail" flip back and forth, as does the book in macrocosm, between twin poles of bodily delight (what Terrance Hayes calls "the carnal") and the excruciations of global conditioning. It is a daring arrangement which, for the most part, pays off the risks Jauregui allows herself.
Physically the size and the design of the book leave the work open in one's hands, as if during prayer, while the extraordinarily explosive cover (by AAVF) trades on the manuscript's heady, almost psychedelic energies. Maybe the book is too long in a certain way, fatiguing, but it's the trend now to have 120 page books of poetry, where once a collection would have a modest 64, 72 pages, and maybe the generosity of having so much work here all at once would best be met by each reader finding his own, or her own, top 80 pages and just going with them, so that we would each have our own ideal "Selected Gabriela Juaregui." There isn't any particular strain in her poetry that I would willingly let go of. Good thing I don't have to. My hope is that CONTROLLED DECAY will be widely circulated, and in reaction, a convulsion of pleasure will sweep our hemisphere from its scalp to its sandals . . . We'll see . . .