Currents: Poems (Paperback)
Poetry. Native American Studies. Winner of a 2018 American Book Award. These poems explore American identity and the powers of myth, faith, doubt, and the environment, and the music of these poems resonate with strains of the English, Spanish, and Din languages. Louis, who has worked as a construction worker and electrician, moves fluently between the literal and symbolic dimensions of work, as he writes in the poem Electricity: Any laborer gathered for a tear-out / agrees the pleasure of opening walls/is the view of what's no longer behind. It takes only the ring of the opening poems in CURRENTS to realize this book does exactly what one hopes a first book will do, bring alive a new, original voice. It's a voice Bojan Lewis not only sustains, but builds, the way, say, a young Sonny Rollins, might shape and vary a singular solo that flows through song after song: raw, kinetic, authentic, a poetry in which language has in common with music the visceral feel of the breathing body behind it.--Stuart Dybek Bojan Louis' CURRENTS is piercing and polyglot. From the first stark poem, spoken in the voice of a hard-living construction worker in Alaska who regards the sea and thinks of Jonah ('bowel-held / and undigested'), to the last in the voice of Xipe Totec (Nahuatl for Our Lord The Flayed One, as Louis' useful notes tell us), we are swept into a fierce and sublime poetry, part incantatory vision, part caustic critique of government cruelty and injustice toward indigenous peoples. By turns a protest of the earth's poisoning, and as in the title poem, a prayer offered in the Din 'tradition and knowing, ' what CURRENTS crystallizes in these taut poetic concentrates goes straight to our souls: 'The prayer, the prayed to, the offering / and the offered; / the bent back and the harvest.'--Cynthia Hogue CURRENTS is charged and luminous under 'butane flame dawn.' Bojan Louis 'stickframesnightmares' into song -- in attempt to heal and jolt awake stories in blisteringholler above his homelands of pot-holed desert highways andreservation borders. An electrician by trade, Din poet Bojan Louis'debut is a multilingual ceremony of electricity, earth and memory, where brokenness is the ground from which our stories continuereaching for H zh .--Sherwin Bitsui.