Willie Perdomo


WILLIE PERDOMO is the author of The Crazy Bunch (Penguin Poets, 2019) The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon (Penguin Poets, 2014), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the International Latino Book Award; Smoking Lovely (Rattapallax, 2004), winner of the PEN Open Book Award, and Where a Nickel Costs a Dime (Norton, 1996), a finalist for the Poetry Society of America Norma Farber First Book Award. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, Poetry, Bomb Magazine, and African Voices. He is currently a Lucas Arts Program Literary Fellow and teaches English at Phillips Exeter Academy. Source

The Poetry Cops

PAPO: You have to forget what you heard, even if you were out there when it happened.


COPS: But how to stay true to what you see?


PAPO: I wrote what I saw in the face of what I remember.


COPS: Well, who is the you?


PAPO: The you is you. Us, we, all of them, and the others. That’s you.


COPS: Let’s continue.


PAPO: That’s all. I’m just trying to build.


COPS: Let’s talk about Voice.


PAPO: Okay. Voice. On any Saturday night you could find yourself running against your voice. The voice that yells Five-O Teddy-Up is about to jump. That voice that suggests you don’t go down a certain block, that you stay away from that blond streak, that you go home early, that at any moment your screams can go dry.


COPS: What happens when Voice comes to stay?


PAPO: Like Baraka used to say, I can see something in the way of ourselves.


COPS: That sounds like Brother Lo.


PAPO: You don’t know patience until you stand on the corner when [  ] is slow. Brother Lo was on some planet rock [  ]. He made sure that we enlisted in the fight for freedom—not now, but right now.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Ars Poetica

Intersectionality & Culture

Literary Devices:


an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie