Be Recorder offers readers a blazing way forward into an as yet unmade world. The many times and tongues in these poems investigate the precariousness of personhood in lines that excoriate and sanctify. Carmen Giménez Smith turns the increasingly pressing urge to cry out into a dream of rebellion--against compromise, against inertia, against self-delusion, and against the ways the media dream up our complacency in an America that depends on it. This reckoning with self and nation demonstrates that who and where we are is as conditional as the fact of our compliance: "Miss America from sea to shining sea / the huddled masses have a question / there is one of you and all of us." Be Recorder is unrepentant and unstoppable, and affirms Giménez Smith as one of the most vital and vivacious poets of our time.
In the bulk of these poems, the author just seems angry. Angry at her parents' expectations, at all of the white people around her, at how people treat her, at the US and Americans (even though she is American and has been since birth, though if I understand correctly she does not agree), at everyone not Latinx, at the American expectation of women to have no/blonde body hair (yet she uses Madonna as an example of a woman with dark body hair, but being half Italian she is just another white woman). Basically, she just seems very very angry. But is that who she is all of the time, or is that what she was trying to explore in this collection? Is this her anger about how her mother, a Peruvian immigrant, did not get to enjoy the fruits of her labor in this country, instead getting this horrible disease? I have no idea. I have a couple other books of hers, and if I get to them before they are due I may have a better idea.
Also--the author attended San Jose State, probably at the same time my brother was there.