The Fire Eater
Surreal, playful, and always poignant, the prose poems in Jose Hernandez Diaz’s masterful debut chapbook introduce us to a mime, a skeleton, and the man in the Pink Floyd t-shirt, all of whom explore their inner selves in Hernandez Diaz’s startling and spare style. With nods to Russell Edson and the surrealists, Hernandez Diaz explores the ordinary and the not-so-ordinary occurrences of life, set against the backdrop of the moon, and the poet’s native Los Angeles.
TRP Chapbook Series
Praise For The Fire Eater: Poems…
“A fire eater, a man, a flame, a mime, a red house, a man in a Pink Floyd t-shirt, and a skeleton walk into a bar. They order drinks and begin a conversation about what it’s like to be a character in a prose poem written by Jose Hernandez Diaz. They agree that, after a while, the internal logic makes sense, and they feel free to be themselves, to wander the landscapes of Los Angeles or the moon. They express their gratitude by promising to show up whenever Hernandez Diaz needs them. Luckily, the readers of this chapbook can see the results. In Edson-esque turns of playfully absurd scenarios, Hernandez Diaz reaches to the heart of our existence, and like a magician, he delights us as he confounds us. How does he do it? the audience will ask. With humor, compassion, and imagination, the three ingredients I want in any work of art.”
—Christopher Kennedy, Author of Clues from the Animal Kingdom
“In these homages to humanity, Jose Hernandez Diaz weaves magic and duality: a conjuring of metamorphosis from unknowing to understanding. These lines invent themselves as a circuitous way of thinking, a nonlinear way of experiencing. We stand on the precipice of fire in Hernandez Diaz’s poems. We inhabit a place where orange roses burst into flames, preachers transform into pigeons, flames walk among us and turn to ash, we are simultaneously dragon and coyote, and where seeing the stars from the moon speaks to the delicacy of our sparks, our actions, our bones. A world exists in these poems where eating fire may be our only skill, but the scars on our ‘autumnal hearts’ prove we were here, prove we were a part of it all, prove that we believe the flames may one day be ours to wield. Hernandez Diaz creates a multidimensional existence, one where Latinx artists may ‘dream about existence beyond the clouds,’ an existence filled with part wonder, part pain, but most importantly, part possibility.”
—Felicia Zamora, Author of Instrument of Gaps
Texas Review Press, 9781680032086, 54pp.
Publication Date: February 20, 2020
About the Author
Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. He holds degrees in English and Creative Writing from the University of California at Berkeley and Antioch University Los Angeles.