Slow Lightning
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Slow Lightning

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  275 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Eduardo C. Corral is the 2011 recipient of the Yale Series of Younger Poets award, joining such distinguished previous winners as Adrienne Rich, W. S. Merwin, and John Ashbery. Corral is the first Latino poet to win the competition.

Seamlessly braiding English and Spanish, Corral's poems hurtle across literary and linguistic borders toward a lyricism that slows down experie...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Yale University Press
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Jenna
"I have to sit down to say this. Once a man offered me his heart and I said no. Not because I didn't love him. Not because he was a beast or white --- I couldn't love him. Do you understand? In bed while we slept, our bodies inches apart, the dark between our flesh a wick. It was burning down. And he couldn't feel it."

-E. Corral, from "Poem After Frida Kahlo's Painting 'The Broken Column'"


Like many, I first encountered Eduardo C. Corral's work via Poetry Magazine, which first began publishing hi...more
Patricia Murphy
So many moments of sheer imaginative energy and uninhibited "going for it" or "saying it." Reading this made me feel empowered to let my imagination guide me. From the deer with honey on its hind leg to the bride too poor for lilies who holds a glass of milk, the images are as resonant as dreams. Some of my favorite moments:

"Are the knees & elbows
the first knots
the dead untie?"

"A saxophone is nothing like an ampersand in his hands."

"After a storm saguaros glisten
like mint trombones."
Ann
An auspicious debut. Probably my favorite Yale Series of Younger Poets selection in years. Competition judge Carl Phillips writes a wonderful introduction. Corral has genuine, original poetic talent.

from "Ditat Deus"

I learned to make love to a man
by touching my father.

.....

He would lift me each morning

onto the bathroom counter,
dot my small palms

with dollops of shaving cream
so I could lather his face.
Andrea Beltran
Eduardo C. Corral's "Slow Lightning" is rapid electrocution. The language and imagery in his collection make even the hair on your arms stand up in full attention. He gets hit, stands up again, comes back for more. Corral's poetry is like the rolled "r" in the Spanish language: he wants to keep saying it, you want to keep hearing it. Haunting and lovely.
Molly
Oh, the top of my head! It has come off.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is the first volume of poetry from Eduardo C. Corral, and I'm looking forward to what he writes next. Corral's father, a frequent subject in his poems, snuck into the United States, and Corral describes himself in one poem as an "Illegal-American."

The poems are sometimes in Spanish and English, switching back and forth with the rapidity that many bilingual think and speak in, particularly first-generation citizens. There is no translation, because he does not want to privilege one language...more
Craig Werner
The central poem of this excellent first book, Variation on a Theme by Jose Montoya, uses Robert Hayden's masterpiece Runagate Runagate as a touchstone for an engagement with the experience of Mexican immigrants (Corral emphasizes the fact that his father was an "illegal" and claims the identity of an "Illegal American." Hayden's a good point of reference in many ways. The poems which spoke to me most powerfully were ones that could be called "political" but they never reduce experience to ideol...more
Matt
I liked this, though this might've been the quickest reading poetry book I've read in a while.

Corral does a couple kinds of poems here: there are narrative poems, some of which, for example, deal with his dad's experiences or his relationship with his dad; some others are stories of border crossers, coyotes and all that. Then there are more fragmented narrative poems, the kind of things that Carl Phillips writes (so it makes sense he writes the intro, and maybe helped Yale pick this manuscript)...more
Sarah
I had to read this for a creative writing class and it was a very interesting read. I like complex poems, but these took me for a ride a few times. It was difficult reading around the Spanish he put into his poems, even though it adds character.
I do like, though, that he stretches the imaginations of his readers; "the deer passes me, I lower my head...to taste the honey smeared on its hind leg." My favorite part of the whole book is defiantly how the cover feels like velvet.
Scott Wiggerman
I just finished this amazing book--startling, strange, erotic, important. The Spanish can be problematic at times, even if you know some Spanish, but I reread and looked up the words I didn't know the second time through; poems just became more impressive. This is a collection that really reads like a collection, not a group of poems thrown together into book format; there are echoes of poems and lines throughout the book. Read this!
Samantha
Slow Lightning is a collection that doesn't shy away from the controversy, ugliness, and despair that honesty breeds. Corral tells stories that hit you and stick with you, as in "Border Triptych", and his more personal confessions (he begins the second part of "Ditat Deus" with the lines "I learned to make love to a man / by touching my father") will all but shatter you, while also reminding you that what you're reading will not cheat you and hold back anything.

A short but intensely sensual work...more
Rita
I had a hard time getting into the meat of this book due to the frequent code-switching. However, the comparison of familial and erotic love is very interesting, risky, and on point.
Bruce Carr
I recently read this book of poetry. I thought it was brilliant.very visual, insightful and compelling. If you enjoy poetry you should enjoy this.
Jordan
There are a few poems that feel like throw-aways. Maybe two or three in the whole collection like that. But, overall, Corral's work is witty and filled with fresh images as well as narrative with clear drama and tension.

"In the margins in a book of poems by Emily Dickinson
he scribbled: she had a pocketful of horses/Trojan/
& some of them used.
Often I mistook him for a storyteller
when he stood in the rain. A su izquierda, huesos.
A su derecha, mapas de cuero. When I'd yawn,
he'd pluck black pet...more
Gabriel Oak
Corral's first book won the Yale Younger Poets Prize last year, and it's not hard to see why. These are poems crackling with energy and invention and showing real range.
Patti K
This 2012 book of poems is written by a Mexican-American who is gay. So there are
many levels of significance here. There are several about his parents and their hard
working, "illegal" lives. His writing is electric and fast-paced, often dream-like
and surreal. He will surprise you with his use of language. Corrall frequently uses
Spanish words within the poems, so have your Spanish dictionary handy. This volume
won the Yale Series of Younger Writers Award.
Maughn Gregory
sex, death, race-prejudice and folk art are the themes of these arresting poems. I learned about it from an interview of Junot Diaz in the Times Book Review:

What was the last book that made you cry?

That’s easy: the winner of the Yale Younger Poets prize, Eduardo Corral’s collection, “Slow Lightning.” When I finished that book I bawled.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/02/boo...
Mia
Sep 29, 2012 Mia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
"Under the cold scaffolding of winter my love took me for a walk through the desert. My breath crumbling like bread.
Under the cold scaffolding of winter my love took me for a walk through the desert. My breath crumbling like bread.
Under the cold scaffolding of winter my love took me for a walk through the desert. My breath crumbling like bread."
--"Poem After Frida Kahlo's painting..."
Jacob Vigil
I don't read too many books of poetry, but this was mentioned by Junot Diaz in an interview so I picked it up. Haunting and surreal, but what I was looking for and appreciated the most was how he captured the images and emotions of immigrants in the borderlands. With such few words, Corral conveys volumes about pain, struggle, addiction, loss....all while avoiding tired stereotypes.
Darin Ciccotelli
I've been reading a few first books this summer, and I think this is my favorite of the bunch. The language is really striking. I also felt reassured by the structure of the book, as it doesn't feel too overtly like a "project" book. The voice feels unified throughout, but it doesn't force a narrative arc on the poems. It just reads like a strong collection.
Kristina
Honestly it just wasn't my type of book. It's very very abstract poetry, and for me it just goes over my head. I'm still giving it 3 stars just because the quality of the writing isn't necessarily bad, it's just that I wasn't able to understand it because I'm bad at poetry. For people who like this type of poetry, maybe you'll enjoy it more than I did.
Nathan Kemp
I had just enough Spanish in me to read this collection without a lot of interruption. I was expecting more Spanish, frankly, and I think that would have added more flavor. Overall, I was a huge fan of about two-thirds of the poems, while the others left me wanting. There wasn't a lot of middle ground for me. Looking forward to future work.
David
Corral establishes a distinctive voice and atmosphere through his collection, yet many pieces left me with the sense that there was a frustratingly unprenetrable meaning behind the powerful imagery. His tone is too profound to suggest a lack of meaning, and yet his strings of images are too diverse to be analyzed effectively.
Michael Odom
Evocative, engaging, calls to be reread and explored (which you will have to do unless you are bilingual -- much in Spanish). Only fault: a few poems seem filler straight out of MFA assignments, but only a few. I expect this poet's future books to be life-altering experiences.
Jonterri
As a poet, I just feel like this poet didn't leave much for me. Meaning, why did he have to go and use all the good metaphors and all of the good imagery? Just ruthless. :) I really enjoyed this and will continue to enjoy it as I go back for multiple reads to study it.
Tiffany


This was a nice collection from a young poet. It felt like an immersive experience into Hispanic culture. I did find myself wishing I knew more Spanish to comprehend a little better. Still, the bilingual qualities created an interesting reading experience.
Luis Correa
It's a good first collection. I have to say—as a little, gay, Mexican boy, myself—I really appreciate that Corral's poetry exists. That said, it still felt like a first book of contemporary poetry. I'll be keeping an eye on his future work, for sure.
Brooks
The people in these poems are perfectly realized. There were some great poems and there were great lines in some of the less-great poems. The central poem of the book "Variations on a theme by Jose Montoya" is really good, the highlight of the book.
Tory Adkisson
A stirring, emotionally complex, sensual, and volatile debut by one of America's most exciting young poets. The use of Spanish and English, the cowboy archetype, and animal/body imagery is superbly done. Wow, just wow.
Elizabeth
You are doing yourself a favor in reading this. Corral takes no comfortable trope, prompt, or image for granted, and you will be in a constant state of excitement over rediscovering emotions you'd forgotten you'd had.
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Eduardo C. Corral is a CantoMundo fellow. He holds degrees from Arizona State University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2012, Beloit Poetry Journal, Huizache, Jubilat, New England Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, and Quarterly West. His work has been honored with a "Discovery"/The Nation Award, the J. Howard and Barbara M. J. Wood Pri...more
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“Once a man offered me his heart and I said no. Not because I didn’t love him. Not because he was a beast or white — I couldn’t love him. Do you understand? In bed while we slept, our bodies inches apart, the dark between our flesh a wick. It was burning down. And he couldn’t feel it.” 1 likes
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