Shadowboxing: poems & impersonations by Joseph Rios
Borrowing the poetic language found in boxing lore and in the Rocky films, Shadowboxing pieces together a poetic portrait of Josefo, a Chicano adolescent working and becoming a poet in the farm territories of Central California. Rios confounds the relationship between author, speaker, and subject within various forms and, at times, across genre. He challenges the usefulness of poetry and stands upon oral histories to demystify California’s overlooked labor class. Rios invites the reader to enter Josefo’s world of memory, experience, and talk, of packinghouse mentors, storytelling grandmothers, parable-sharing plumbers, smooth talking truck drivers, and infinitely patient literature professors.