Shameless Self-Promotion
It's Monday, and I haven't published a new book since 2005. WTF, as my kids might say. I thought I was the guy who would publish two or three books a year. But I've been so busy, as you know, with those last two books, I haven't published new ones. And I haven't published a book of poetry for over ten years!

But I have been busy in other arenas, like anthologies and the like. So I thought I'd tell you about a few of them, in case you were curious or felt like hunting down some semi-fresh Urrealism.

I am very excited about this new one: Dave Eggers' crazy McSweeney's Books is releasing the amazing Underground America: Narratives of Undocumented Lives on June first. Edited by Peter Orner. They gave me the great opportunity to write the foreword. I think the book will cause a stir in the great immigration debate. And, like all the McS books, it is a great physical production--looks and feels swell.

Just out now: Dan Olivas's excellent Latinos in Lotusland (Bilingual Press). I have a short-short story in there called "The White Girl." It's one of those wonderful opportunities to escape the jail of your marketed voice/persona (at a certain point, you become literary Nikes). I wrote it in a harsh, slangy minimalism. It reflects my constant concern from my own close circle of homeboys and locas about the human heart that has massive things within it, and no way to express these things. What do you do when you're haunted, but you have limited access to things like poetry or literature? How do you express what can't be expressed? So, you know, the book could limit its readers, being a Los Angeles Chicano collection. But there is some amazing work in there, better than my own.

Poetry buffs: I got a strange series of poems in The City Visible: Chicago Poetry for the New Century (Cracked Slab Books). Edited by William Allegrezza and Raymond Bianchi. Honestly, there are too many experimental and too-preciously-"brilliant" people in there for my taste. Come on, man, this is Chicago! The poems are good, though--it's just the poets' personal statements that can make you want to see a new St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Ho ho. Mine is the questionable "The Signal to Noise Ratio: Chicago Haiku." There was a nice lady in Texas who complained that my language in Devil's H was "salty." Salt alert: there is very naughty language in these haikus. Street talk, though,when you're in the groove, makes poems.

Finally, the anthology Best Stories of the American West, edited by Marc Jaffe. I was stunned to find myself in this book! I was REALLY shocked to see the front cover: "Sherman Alexie, Max Evans, Elmer Kelton, Elmore Leonard, Luis Alberto Urrea." WHAT??? Good deal, and I'm going to send Marc a $25 check to pay him off for this insane error in judgment. The story is the die-hard and apparently eternal, "Bid Farewell to Her Many Horses." So, if you heard it on NPR and liked it, and if you don't have the book it came from, there it is in good company.

I am editing the WGN (World's Greatest Novel) Into the Beautiful North. (I don't know what happened to the italics on that.) And I am making amends to the Poetry God by editing, at last, the poetry book, Songs of the Sacrificial Class. Any poetry editors out there who are interested in my newest verse, drop me a line. I feel safe in announcing that Little, Brown would like me to find publishing satisfaction with my poetry...elsewhere.


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