Friday, March 21, 2014

#FridayReads: The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon by Willie Perdomo

English: Willie Perdomo, poet and publisher.
Willie Perdomo. (Photo: Wikipedia)
Papo's back - put this on your list - just take my word for it!

The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon by Willie Perdomo

Through dream song and elegy, alternate takes and tempos, prizewinning poet Willie Perdomo’s third collection crackles with vitality and dynamism as it imagines the life of a percussionist, rebuilding the landscape of his apprenticeship, love, diaspora, and death. 

At the beginning of his infernal journey, Shorty Bon Bon recalls his live studio recording with a classic 1970s descarga band, sharing his recollection with an unidentified poet. This opening section is followed by a call-and-response with his greatest love, a singer named Rose, and a visit to Puerto Rico that inhabits a surreal nationalistic dreamscape, before a final jam session where Shorty recognizes his end and a trio of voices seek to converge on his elegy.

Willie Perdomo is the author of Where a Nickel Costs a Dime, a finalist for the Poetry Society of America Norma Farber First Book Award, and Smoking Lovely, a winner of the PEN Beyond Margins Award. His poems have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Bomb, and other publications. He is an Instructor of English at Phillips Exeter Academy.

Friday, March 07, 2014

#FridayReads: Handbook for an Unpredictable Life By Rosie Perez

In Handbook for an Unpredictable Life:  How I Survived Sister Renata and My Crazy Mother, and Still Came Out Smiling (with Great Hair), Oscar-nominated actress Rosie Perez’s never-before-told story of surviving a harrowing childhood and of how she found success—both in and out of the Hollywood limelight is revealed.

Rosie Perez first caught our attention with her fierce dance in the title sequence of Do the Right Thing and has since defined herself as a funny and talented actress who broke boundaries for Latinas in the film industry. What most people would be surprised to learn is that the woman with the big, effervescent personality has a secret straight out of a Dickens novel. 

At the age of three, Rosie’s life was turned upside down when her mentally ill mother tore her away from the only family she knew and placed her in a Catholic children’s home in New York’s Westchester County. Thus began her crazily discombobulated childhood of being shuttled between “the Home,” where she and other kids suffered all manners of cruelty from nuns, and various relatives’ apartments in Brooklyn.

Many in her circumstances would have been defined by these harrowing experiences, but with the intense determination that became her trademark, Rosie overcame the odds and made an incredible life for herself. She brings her journey vividly to life on each page of this memoir—from the vibrant streets of Brooklyn to her turbulent years in the Catholic home, and finally to film and TV sets and the LA and New York City hip-hop scenes of the 1980s and ‘90s.  

More than a page-turning read, Handbook for an Unpredictable Life is a story of survival. By turns heartbreaking and funny, it is ultimately the inspirational story of a woman who has found a hard-won place of strength and peace.

ROSIE PEREZ is an Oscar-nominated actress, whose credits include Do the Right Thing, White Men Can't Jump, Fearless, and The Counselor. She is the Artistic Chair of Urban Arts Partnership and sits on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
 
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