cover of book

The Life Assignment
by Ricardo Alberto Maldonado
Four Way Books, 2020
Paper: 978-1-945588-54-9 | eISBN: 978-1-945588-77-8
Library of Congress Classification PS3613.A435223L54 2020
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.6

The speaker of the poems in The Life Assignment is reviewing his history. As if sorting through a box of photographs, the speaker sorts through relationships, trying to discern what was healthy from what was exploitative. Concepts of love are turned over and over in these poems: romantic love, love of family, love of country, self-love (or lack thereof). Often the speaker finds that what at first appeared to be caring, was insincere all along. When tenderness is in short supply, how can one protect himself? How can one find home? In his debut collection, Ricardo Alberto Maldonado bends poems through bilingual lyrics that present spartan observation as evidence for its exacting verdict: “We never leave when life is elsewhere. The clemency of men disappears / as does the light, tarring the roofs.” An electric debut collection.

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