Be Recorder by Carmen Gimenez Smith

Be Recorder

Finalist for the National Book Award for PoetryLonglisted for the PEN Open Book AwardCarmen Giménez Smith dares to demand renewal for a world made unrecognizableBe 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...

Details Be Recorder

TitleBe Recorder
Release DateAug 6th, 2019
PublisherGraywolf Press
GenrePoetry, Adult

Reviews Be Recorder

  • Ken
    I'm doing well here with finalists for the 2019 National Book Awards. For poetry, that is. The other two I've read are The Tradition (Jericho Brown) and Deaf Republic (Ilya Kaminsky). Please don't ask about the fiction and nonfiction finalists, however. The only fiction one I've read I abandoned (Black Leopard, Red Wolf), and the nonfiction titles were all strangers in the night to me.Back to Be Recorder. Comprised of three sections, the book tac...
  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    Be Recorder is a collection of poems about contemporary America, consumerism/capitalism, and what it’s like being the child of Latin American immigrants in America. Great form and use of language. One of my favorites from the shortlist.
  • André Habet
    Read this cross 3 days. The titular poem is an epic that moves through scales, forms, and voices to create a piece that polyphonically resonates across space-time. Favorite lines,"I've learned most from the crackedOnce I broke into piecesNow I break into wholes.('Be Recorder', 31)
  • R.K. Cowles
    3 3/4 stars
  • Alyssa
    so good I read it twice through
  • D.A.
    One of the best books in a year of great books. Gimenez is a national treasure.
  • Christy Rogers
    Carmen Giménez Smith is an utter genius. Her poems weave their way through the expectations of capitalism and government restraint and family ties and personal ambition. I saw myself, and most of America, in this timeless dream of a collection.
  • Keely
    The poems in Be Recorder explore themes of identity, country, immigrant experience, race, class, harsh economic realities, resistance, and, to a lesser degree, family relationships. I enjoyed the conventionally punctuated poems in the first and third sections most, including “No Apology: A Poemifesto,” a poem declaring the speaker’s intention to stop saying “sorry” with every other breath, and “Beasts,” which describes the experienc...
  • Dree
    This collection was...interesting. I really liked some poems, especially those dealing with her mother's Alzheimer's disease and modern American consumerism.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 ...
  • Danielle Bessette
    This is an intense collection dealing with the status of Latinx immigrants/second gen immigrants in the current State, and how that is uncomfortably entangled with the poets identity. The beginning deals with their past; the titular middle section is raw and angry and frustrated layers of image and sound reflecting dealing with the current; the last section moves through present speculating to the future. It’s super timely and emotional so I ca...
  • Doug
    "Poetry is useless until we rot from inside when we don’t have words."Identity, language, capitalism, consumerism, and Star Wars as our national mythology."Once there were swords, they would say, that made the sound of empty oil drums."
  • Karen Mateus
    Carmen composed a beautiful, long poem devoted to the Latina-American experience in America. Her words will infuse you to your childhood and adulthood. Loved it!
  • Donna Mork
    Interesting poetry. Much of it was free-verse. Some seemed disjointed but also some was poignant. I think I enjoyed the shorter poems more than the longer ranging ones.
  • Abby
    The frivolity of poetry, layers of frivolity disguised as labor or vice versa. / Poetry is useless until we rot from inside when we don't have words.
  • Dee
  • Matthew
  • Erendira
    There were some pieces here that were a bit too didactic for my style, but nonetheless, some poetic imagery here. Some fine, exquisite lines here about place and displacement.
  • Melina
    This was magical.
  • Caleb Masters
    Carmen Giménez Smith’s newest poetry collection is an electric meditation on identity and otherness in America. She masterfully wrestles with and illuminates these themes throughout her work, crescendoing with the masterful, epic title poem, Be Recorder. With beautiful, powerful language that just begs to be read aloud; Smith’s bold new collection will stay with me for a long time.
  • Crystal
    Felt completely disconnected from the poems when I started this sometime in October and then after getting back to Be Recorder yesterday with a much clearer head the long poem and other poems/prose pieces felt more like a reality I'm familiar with as a child of immigrants.edit: Okay, Goodreads destroyed the formatting on the poem I posted so here's a better though still not perfect attempt: