Roberto Carlos Garcia

Roberto Carlos Garcia (Poetry) | New York, NY

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Roberto Carlos Garcia’s second poetry collection, black / Maybe, will be published in spring 2018 by Willow Books. His first collection, Melancolía, is available from Červená Barva Press. His poems and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in The Root, Those People, Rigorous, Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, The New Engagement, Public Pool, Stillwater Review, Gawker, Barrelhouse, Tuesday; An Art Project, The Acentos Review, Lunch Ticket, and many others.


black/Maybe (Willow Books, 2018). Poetry.
Melancolia (Cervena Barva Press, 2016). Poetry.
amores gitano (gypsy loves) (Cervena Barva Press, 2013). Poetry.

Blurbs, Press & Reviews

“Garcia’s black / Maybe is the new standard for American race work in the 21st century. Through bouncy and superbly rich elegies, odes and essays, Garcia decimates notions of monolithic blackness and/or Dominican culture with language that haunts, hopes and howls. Every piece in this collection tugs at tomorrow while fueling itself with crumbs of yesterday. Masterful writing looks and sounds like black / Maybe.”
—Kiese Laymon, author of How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, Long Division, and the forthcoming Heavy

Roberto Carlos Garcia is, in his own words, an angry black man. Born of Castilian gypsies and Papa Africa, born of Trujillo’s blood bath, the marked Dominican colonized, the worker’s class, born American and city poor only to go incognito, a Suburban single-family latINO, he is a poet who refuses to lie or play nice, who refuses to be owned or named. black / Maybe is a brilliant mixed-self drama of historic proportions, complete with an intruding chorus of the wise and the dead. I hear a casting call to the culpable. I hear my own republic being sang.
—Rebecca Gayle Howell, author of Hagar Before the Occupation / Hagar After the Occupation, Render An Apocalypse and American Purgatory

García openly confronts racism: ideological, institutional, interpersonal, internalized, and intersectional; he calls for a healing, for a seeing of blackness as beautiful in the sun. In black / Maybe, García invokes the dramatic chorus to offer commentary on the complexities of Afro-Latinx identity. Through voces afrodescendietes, García engages in an experiential, existential, and historical hermeneutics. We are invited into the familiar spaces in which we learn and question who we are, where we are prodded to redefine ourselves outside of an amorphous whiteness. García reveals the bricks within us, that hide who we are, behind which we have only ourselves to meet// ourselves to beat,// only ourselves/ to eat.
—Dr. Raina J. León, author of Profeta Without Refuge, Sombra Dis(locate), and Boogeyman Dawn

Agitations both tender and muscular simmer inside these poems. A sadness that’s palpable and physical haunts this poet; so does rage at the power-mongers’ forces that keep children hungry, that fester poverty in terrifying mutations. Poet of engagement, Garcia speaks to the moon, to his sister, to the seasons and the garden, to his body a vessel: “these hands like a chunk of asteroid—full of taking & giving.” This book offers us a photo-real blueprint of one man’s life-space, an elegant blues-print of one man’s heart, with direct utterance and lavish music.
—JudithVollmer is the author of five full-length books of poetry, including The Apollonia Poems, forthcoming in 2017 as winner of the University of Wisconsin Press Four Lakes Poetry Prize.

Roberto Carlos García is, it seems to me, poet-kin of both Lorca and Neruda, but also things like rain, wind, the color yellow and the color green. In Melancolía we have a collection of gorgeously quiet poems rendered by intellect and the dream where lyricism is born out of the dusky space between mystery and the everyday. Here is a breathtaking archive of an imagination at work, a body made up of effort and world. See: “My friends I am not above you // I can hear the song of reckoning in the rose thorns” and “In my mouth melancolía is an orchard, /a yellowing day & bluing night, // In my ribcage melancolía is an ecstatic lilt /made of pearls, my heart—wet sand, /pungent as dogwoods.”
—Aracelis Girmay is the author of three collections of poetry: The Black Maria (BOA Editions, 2016); Kingdom Animalia (BOA Editions, 2011), and Teeth (Curbstone Press, 2007). She is a Cave Canem fellow and teaches at Hampshire College and in the Drew University MFA program.

​In these sensuous poems everything is up for inspection and interrogation, including the speaker himself. Here are echoes of Lorca and Neruda, their depth and power, but in a voice entirely the poet’s own. Roberto Carlos Garcia’s poems take beauty as a gift, and also as a sometimes foil against capitalism and the numbness of the suburban life we are supposed to desire. “& what is poetry if not what we need?” We need poems like these, with their living language and their vision of where we are and where poetry, ecstatic and elegiac, can take us.
—Anne Marie Macari, author of Red Deer (Persea, 2015)

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