In El Rey of Gold Teeth, Reyes Ramirez explores living in America as a first-generation American of Salvadoran and Mexican descent, living among conflicting histories. Read More
In El Rey of Gold Teeth, Reyes Ramirez explores living in America as a first-generation American of Salvadoran and Mexican descent, living among conflicting histories. Through the voices of an astronaut, a tennis player, a drag queen, family members, an alternate version of the self, and even a turtle, these propulsive poems embody the many marginalized voices demanding to be remembered in a nation that requires erasure of histories.
Colonizing languages and subverting forms, rerouting histories, and finding the mundane made extraordinary, El Rey of Gold Teeth breaks open notions of destiny, in humorous and devastating ways, to reimagine the past and present a new future where lack transforms to abundance, where there will be many answers to every question. Reyes Ramirez’s debut poetry collection plays in spaces of both elegy and joy, and introduces a vibrant new talent.
"Reyes Ramirez writes poems that radiate wonder and surprise. El Rey of Gold Teeth takes us on a young man’s journey toward self—a mission to find his voice in a Texas household enriched and sometimes embattled by Mexican and Salvadoran culture and history. By mapping family memory and examining his encounters, struggles and triumphs in a chaotic American landscape, he also finds his place in the broken world and a purpose as the scribe, keeper of the stories." —Rigoberto González, author of To the Boy Who Was Night
"In this dynamic collection, Reyes Ramirez uses poetry to travel through time and memory to reconstruct a family history across borders and languages, through the personal, the cultural, and the political. These poems are deft and fresh in their linguistic complexity, and the boundaries of the constructs of 'America,' 'home,' and 'lineage' are dissolved as this book reveals the truth of being 'other' in any place which seeks to erase us. It's a remarkable debut." —Ashley M. Jones, author of Reparations Now!
“In his long-awaited poetry debut, Reyes Ramirez’s poems spring from and interrogate tensions, questions, and borders. Wounded and saved by family, fleeing worn-out signifiers, the speaker troubles the given. The language cascades and spirals on the page—it forms dazzling architecture. Another way Ramirez refuses constrictions, what’s been inherited. And I’m struck by the people gathered here. A community surrounds the speaker. The speaker, too, is a community of selves—a plurality shaped by mistrust of mythologies and by numerous linguistic approaches. Reyes Ramirez is the real deal. A writer hammering time and blood into splendid music.” —Eduardo C. Corral, author of Guillotine