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Currents: Poems (Paperback)
Winner of the American Book Award. These poems explore American identity and the powers of myth, faith, doubt, and the environment, and the music of these poems resonate with strains of the English, Spanish, and Din languages. Louis, who has worked as a construction worker and electrician, moves fluently between the literal and symbolic dimensions of work, as he writes in the poem "Electricity" Any laborer gathered for a tear-out/agrees the pleasure of opening walls/is the view of what's no longer behind."
''It takes only the ring of the opening poems in Currents to realize this book does exactly
what one hopes a first book will do, bring alive a new, original voice. It's a voice
Bojan Louis not only sustains, but builds, the way, say, a young Sonny Rollins, might
shape and vary a singular solo that flows through song after song: raw, kinetic, authentic,
a poetry in which language has in common with music the visceral feel of the breathing
body behind it.''
--Stuart Dybek, Streets in Their Own Ink, Paper Lantern
''Bojan Louis' Currents is piercing and polyglot. From the first stark poem, spoken in
the voice of a hard-living construction worker in Alaska who regards the sea and thinks
of Jonah ("bowel-held / and undigested"), to the last in the voice of Xipe Totec (Nahuatl
for Our Lord The Flayed One, as Louis' useful notes tell us), we are swept into a fierce
and sublime poetry, part incantatory vision, part caustic critique of government cruelty
and injustice toward indigenous peoples. By turns a protest of the earth's poisoning,
and as in the title poem, a prayer offered in the Din 'tradition and knowing, ' what
Currents crystallizes in these taut poetic concentrates goes straight to our souls: 'The
prayer, the prayed to, the offering / and the offered; / the bent back and the harvest.'''
--Cynthia Hogue, In June the Labyrinth
Currents is charged and luminous under "butane flame dawn." Bojan Louis "stickframes
nightmares" into song-- in attempt to heal and jolt awake stories in blistering
holler above his homelands of pot-holed desert highways and
reservation borders. An electrician by trade, Din poet Bojan Louis'
debut is a multilingual ceremony of electricity, earth and memory,
where brokenness is the ground from which our stories continue
reaching for H zh ̨.
--Sherwin Bitsui, Shapeshift, Flood Song
''Cry. And wither within. Yet stay strong. Incredibly strong. That's what Currents
by Bojan Louis is. Knowledge is knowledge. It is not spare. Yet, truth to tell,
knowledge is spare. But it's there where it has always been. Where it belongs.
Truth or fact or answer is beside the point. Reading Louis's poems, I have to
stop many times. At times, I feel I lose track. But that's okay. Awareness makes
sure you are current. And ready, prepared, fixated by experience. Mine, not
his. That's when it hits me. Religion and religious experience is the way to
Phoenix from Las Vegas. We'll get there, and we'll be ready. Make sure you
read the Notes at the end of Bojan's book of poems, which tell you more than
you know and swear by.''
--Simon J. Ortiz, From Sand Creek, Out There Somewhere,
Beyond the Reach of Time and Change (ed.)