Finalist from The Poetry Box Chapbook Prize, 2021
by Juan Pablo Mobili
Scheduled Release Date: Apr 15, 2022
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Juan Pablo Mobili’s poems are born from living life with eyes that wish to stop seeing but remained open, and bear the record of being a citizen of one family and two countries. In them you will meet the people he loved and deeply shaped what he must pay attention to, and a personal city that keeps establishing its presence and its mark —the cadence of Buenos Aires and the rhythm of New York— full of memories of beauty and the insistent tragedies that still take place, the injustices committed on people who have not deserved them.
In Contraband’s poems you will meet the poet’s mother and his father who visit long after they passed, accounts of the blessings and the curses of remembering what he has witnessed, watching the world struggling with itself and, sometimes, reaching redemption.
Ultimately, these are poems about a certain hard-earned joy, having managed some reconciliation with turning out the way he has, a human being—“the only animal that blushes, or needs to,” as Mark Twain wrote—still skeptical but rooting for kindness winning its fight against indifference. Molten material to shape into poems that may matter to the reader, or at least a way to make the world a more hospitable place.
“I was struck immediately by its humanism, its lyrical command born of precision and restraint. Whether he is writing about the death of his parents, or the secrets that move within us like a second body, his poems are quiet chronicles of our mysterious journeys as living creatures.”
—Robert Hirschfield, poet and essayist, author of The Road to Canaan