Senegal Taxi

Senegal Taxi

By Juan Felipe Herrera

University of Arizona Press, Paperback, 9780816530151, 112pp.

Publication Date: March 21, 2013

Description
I wish I could find the words to tell you the story of our village after you were killed. So begins "Senegal Taxi," the new work by one of contemporary poetry's most vibrant voices, Juan Felipe Herrera. Known for his activism and writings that bring attention to oppression and injustice, Herrera turns to stories of genocide and hope in Sudan." Senegal Taxi" offers the voices of three children escaping the horrors of war in Africa.
Unflinching in its honesty, brutality, and beauty, the collection fiercely addresses conflict and childhood, inviting readers to engage in complex and often challenging issues." Senegal Taxi" weaves together verse, dialogue, and visual art created by Herrera specifically for the book. Stylistically genre-leaping, these many layers are part of the collection's innovation. Phantom-like televisions, mud drawings, witness testimonies, insects, and weaponry are all storytellers that join the siblings for a theatrical crescendo. Each poem is told from a different point of view, which Herrera calls mud drawings, referring to the evocative symbols of hope the children create as they hide in a cave on their way to Senegal, where they plan to catch a boat to the United States.
This collection signals a poignant shift for Herrera as he continues to use his craft to focus attention on global concerns. In so doing, he offers an acknowledgment that the suffering of some is the suffering of all.


About the Author
Juan Felipe Herrera is the U.S. Poet Laureate and was inspired by the fire-speakers of the early Chicano Movement and by heavy exposure to various poetry, jazz, and blues performance streams. His published works include 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971 2007; Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream; Mayan Drifter: Chicano Poet in the Lowlands of the Americas; Thunderweavers/Tejedoras de Rayos; Laughing Out Loud, I Fly, a Pura Belpre Honor Book; Americas Award winners Crashboomlove and Cinnamon Girl; Calling the Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award; and Upside Down Boy, which was adapted into a musical. He has received the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship and previously served as California Poet Laureate. He has taught at both California State University, Fresno and University of California, Riverside and held the Tomas Rivera endowed chair in creative writing. He lives in Fresno, California.