Natural Takeover of Small Things (Paperback)
"Natural Takeover of Small Things" is a collection of poetry that offers an unflinching view of California's Heartland, the San Joaquin Valley. In his distinctive, lyrical, pull-no-punches style, Tim Z. Hernandez offers a glimpse of the people, the landscape, the rhythm, and the detritus of the rural West. As Hernandez peels back the facade of the place, he reveals that home is not always where the heart is.
The book opens with an image of Fresno as the inexhaustible nerve/in the twitching leg of a dog/three hours after being smashed/beneath the retread wheel/of a tomato truck en route to/a packing house that was raided/by the feds just days before the harvest. It ends with Adios, Fresno, an astringent farewell to the city: You can keep your fields, /the sun will follow me./I won t reconsider./I ve overstayed my welcome/by three generations. By then, we have toured the breadth of the San Joaquin Valley, have tasted Fuyu persimmons and lengua, have witnessed a home crumbling to foreclosure, and listened to the last words of a dying campesino. We re made aware that this is an atmosphere scented by an entirely organic stew a melding of culture, objects, and forms. This is a place where rubble mirrors the refuse of lives. But garbage is also compost. And if we squint, we can see through the wreckage a few small patches where love could be taking root and hope might actually be sprouting.
About the Author
Tim Z. Hernandez is an award winning writer and performer originally from California. His debut collection of poetry, Skin Tax (Heyday, 2004), received the 2006 American Book Award, and his debut novel, Breathing, in Dust (Texas Tech University Press, 2010), was featured on NPR's All Things Considered. It went on to receive the 2010 Premio Aztlan Prize in Fiction, and was a finalist for the California Book Award. In 2011, Hernandez was named one of sixteen New American Poets by the Poetry Society of America. He is a frequent visiting author at Universities and institutions across the U.S. and has performed in venues such as L.A.'s Getty Center, Stanford University, Dixon Experimental Theater in New York City, and Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He holds a B.A. in Writing & Literature from Naropa University, and an M.F.A. from Bennington College in Vermont. He currently lives in Colorado where he works for the Center for the Book and teaches fiction at Naropa University.