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FutureCycle Press Publishes Robert Joe Stout's New Poetry Collection
Monkey Screams by Robert Joe Stout is a contender for the 2015 FutureCycle Poetry Book Prize
Through these poems, Stout thrusts the horrors, the idiosyncrasies, the fallacies of the War in Vietnam into the vividly personal reactions of participants whose fears, accomplishments and shame burst forth in descriptions that surpass journalism or propaganda. They are both confessions and recriminations, yearnings for home and struggles to make sense out of the senseless.
In similar fashion the second section of these poetical narratives reflects the anxieties, conflicts, resolutions of the succeeding generation: life as it is contrasted with what life could or should be. Telephone linemen, football coaches, foreign-born account clerks wrestle limitations imposed by laws and society, proud of their achievements yet poignantly aware of what is missing in their lives.
The third and final section pushes into the present through the eyes, thoughts and imaginings of a journalist nearing the end of his career. Poems of acceptance, of remembrance, little details of life that never important before become planks between acceptance and eternity. Facts give way to dreams and dreams to definition of what his life has been and why. The factual world—lentil soup, the cat asleep—offsets perceptions of monstrous fish, a boyhood unicorn that only he could see as he experiences existence beyond that apparent to routines of daily life.
In Vietnam, the silence that followed battle was eerie, frightening, until the sounds of the jungle resumed—the monkey screams as one G.I. describes it. But the normal to which it returned was itself surreal, something to be apprehended intuitively, not understood by superficial observation. Throughout this book the intuitive pierces the commonplace, transforming the ordinary into something feared, loved, shared.
Robert Joe Stout’s books include Hidden Dangers, a 2014 analysis of the deteriorating ability of Mexico and the United States to deal with crucial problems such as crime, immigration and corruption. Previous books include The Blood of the Serpent: Mexican Lives, “a rich chorus of voices, which produce not a song but an energetic discussion and argument about the soul of Mexico” according to Publishers Weekly, Why Immigrants Come to America, the novels Miss Sally and Running Out the Hurt and the poetry volume A Perfect Throw. A graduate of Mexico City College (now the Universidad de las Americas), he has won national journalism awards for news writing and his fiction and poetry have been anthologized in a variety of publications, including New Southern Poets and Southwest.
Monkey Screams is available in both print and Kindle editions through FutureCycle Press's online catalog (www.futurecycle.org)