14: Antología del Sonoran
by Christopher Bogart
A Poetry Box Chapbook Prize Selection – Third Place (tie)
Twenty-six Mexican migrants were discovered in the Sonoran desert near Yuma, Arizona. Twelve of them were wandering around the desert, delirious and dying of thirst. Fourteen were taken by pickup truck to the morgue. The deceased became known as the “Yuma 14.” These poems tell their story.
About the Author
Christopher Bogart is a retired educator and a working poet and writer with an MA in Creative Writing from Monmouth University. His poetry has been published in Voices Rising from the Grove, Spindrift, WestWard Quarterly, Saggio Poetry Journal, The Monmouth Review (2013, 2014), Mind Murals (2013), Whirlwind Review (Fall 2014), The Howl of Sorrow, a Collection of Poetry Inspired by Hurricane Sandy, This Broken Shore (Summer 2015, 2018) and Jersey Shore Poets (First Edition).
In 2015, he was chosen as First Runner Up for Monmouth University’s inaugural The Joyce Carol Oates Award for Excellence in Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Non-Fiction. In 2017, he was chosen as one of two finalists for The Brian Turner Literary Prize for Fiction. He is presently writing poetry and short stories, translating the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca and Arthur Rimbaud into English, as well as working on his first novel, tentatively titled The Beast, about two Central American teenage migrants who flee poverty and crime in search of a better life in America.
What They’re Saying . . .
“A cautionary tale written in dried blood, and a grim portrait of the consequences of impossible choices.”
~ Gregg G. Brown, publisher, BLAST PRESS
“An informal and empathetic document as well as a poetic sequence, 14: Antología del Sonoran elegizes and gives voice to those no longer able to speak their stories. Christopher Bogart’s risky yet respectful poems honor the names of these dead, and insist that nothing can sever the bonds that connect us to each other.”
~ Michael Waters, author of The Dean of Discipline
“The quiet calm of the poems in Christopher Bogart’s 14: Antología del Sonoran heightens the despair in the individual stories of these fourteen doomed men and lays bare the tragedy of lives lost in the simple yearning for human dignity.”
~ Daniel Weeks, author of For Now: New & Collected Poems, 1979-2017
“‘The U.S. – Mexican border es una herida abierta where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds,’ Gloria Anzaldúa wrote in 1987. Three decades later, the open wound has grown deeper and wider, the need to address it and assist with the healing more urgent than ever. A poet citizen sharply aware of the power and limitation of art to bring about change, Christopher Bogart reminds us of the complicitous nature of silence. Soul-wrenching in the directness and sparseness with which they capture each voice, the poems of 14: Antología del Sonoran speak of lives trapped in a system that makes dreaming for dignity a death sentence. Each poem performs a ritual that mourns, restores robbed dignity, and cries for justice.”
~ Mihaela Moscaliuc, Associate Professor at Monmouth University, author of Father Dirt and Immigrant Model
“Christopher Bogart resurrects the ‘Yuma 14’ who died on the Devil’s Highway that links Mexico to Arizona, seeking the kind of life most Americans take for granted. As their bodies lie in the burning desert or in the brilliant light of the morgue they tell us their stories, their dreams, their hopes. But this is not a book about hope. No, hope is not welcome here, just as these souls were not welcome in our country. ‘For her I wanted so much more,’ says one about his now fatherless daughter. ‘It was hard to believe I was dead,’ whispers another.”
~ Peter E. Murphy, Founder, Murphy Writing of Stockton University
“The distant deaths of ordinary people usually don’t make the news headlines and can be too easily ignored. In 14: Antología del Sonoran, Christopher Bogart rescues 14 such deaths from obscurity and into compassionate focus, bringing their humanity to life. These were 14 men – among the unnumbered migrants – who risked everything to seek the American Dream of making better lives for themselves and their families. Bogart documents each man’s death in poems that are both stark factual accounts and movingly eloquent portraits of individuals who dared to dream – and lost to the vast wasteland of the Sonoran Desert. Written with economy of language and vivid details, these poems bear witness to a daily human tragedy that, once you cross the border between knowing and not knowing, is unforgettable.”
~ Linda Johnston Muhlhausen, author of Elephant Mountain
“Christopher Bogart sets his beautiful language against harsh, hellish landscapes, which mirror hardships faced by the men he writes about. Here is the hero’s journey with little hope of transformation, or victory. These men accept the challenge despite the odds, and in these carefully crafted snapshots of their lives, Bogart shows us a terrifying sadness, beauty and bravery.”
~ Deborah LaVeglia (Moderator: “PoetsWednesday,” The Barron Arts Center)