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A Short History of Monsters

$17.95 $13.46

Poems by Jose Padua
60 pages, 5 ½ × 8 ½
978-1-68226-094-4 (paper)
March 2019

 

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Winner, 2019 Miller Williams Poetry Prize

“We are the happy riders on the stream of Padua’s consciousness . . . a smart, sympathetic mind at work.”
—Billy Collins

Drawing on the spirit of New York City in decades past, A Short History of Monsters presents the sins and obsessions of a poet nimble in the beat and slam traditions. In this first full-length collection, Jose Padua wrestles with an American dream interrupted by failure, excess, and other nightmares. Often brash and unruly, these poems range from recollections of lost, drunken days to unadorned manifestations of hope. Throughout, the speaker redefines his relationship to pop culture, praising it, skewering it, and mourning it by turns.

The poems that make up A Short History of Monsters tend toward both dark humor and epiphany, diving deeply into their own despair and rising up again with existential absurdity. This is a poetry that gets down into the grit and grime of the real world, digging out a space to experience being alive—miraculous in and of itself.

Jose Padua, a veteran of New York’s spoken-word literary scene, now lives in Washington, DC. This is his first book.

“When Jose Padua writes of ‘the beauty of the moment that comes alive without artifice,’ he could be describing these poems. They’re dispatches from a messy life in the real world, told with wry candor. His gift to us is a lesson in seeing through the little defeats we all suffer every day for a glimpse of transcendence. In the twenty-five years I’ve been reading him, I never once felt he was posturing or lying to me, which is high tribute for any writer.”
—John Strausbaugh, author of City of Sedition and Victory City

Every year, the University of Arkansas Press accepts submissions for the Miller Williams Poetry Series and from the books selected awards the $5,000 Miller Williams Poetry Prize in the following summer. For almost a quarter century the press has made this series the cornerstone of its work as a publisher of some of the country’s best new poetry. The series and prize are named for and operated to honor the cofounder and longtime director of the press, Miller Williams. The series is edited by Billy Collins.

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