Sundress Releases Amorak Huey’s Collection, Boom Box
Sundress Publications announces the release of Amorak Huey’s collection, Boom Box. In this, Huey’s third published collection, the poems brim with desire and are hounded by the uncertainties of puberty, while Huey’s speaker chronicles the honest arc of an adolescence that is neither purely tragic nor purely ideal.
In Boom Box, Amorak Huey’s incisive and tender portrait of a GenX childhood, he challenges his readers to reconsider the way in which we relate to the past as we age. “What are the uses of nostalgia?” Huey asks. “What does it conceal, and what does it uncover?” Boom Box is suffused with the loneliness of small-town isolation and punctuated by the deep hurt of divorce. It is also rife with the pleasures of discovering a favorite album, and the powerful, restless energy of being seventeen. With the humor, curiosity, and earnestness of youth, Huey threads references to KISS, Star Wars, and even Dungeons & Dragons throughout the book, invoking at every turn the comforting sweetness of nostalgia. But Huey’s work is never saccharine. Instead, with each successive poem, and the discerning eye of a sage adult, his speaker untangles a web of early memories. By skillfully painting an experience of growing up in the wide rivers, gravel parking lots, and lonely dirt roads of Alabama, and by pairing those images with intimate snapshots of high school break-ups, missed connections, and Little League fathers who “never had a problem disappointment couldn’t solve,” Huey offers his readers a unique opportunity to remember the awkward trappings of youth through his artistically masterful lens. In this way, Boom Box revisits the foundations of the coming-of-age genre with style, clarity, and an emotional resonance that lasts long after its final lines.
Chelsea Dingman, author of What Bodies Have I Moved and Thaw, says, “If poems are magic, then the poems of Boom Box are rife with the magic of childhood in guitar-solo riffs of splendor and nostalgia. Amidst sweeping narratives, the past stands as a monument to be worshipped instead of forgotten. The sorrow, the thrill, the sex, the music, and the awkwardness, are all captured as if in time capsules—these are poems of loss and marrow and place, of time and the wars it wields. They are profound in their honesty, bittersweet, heartbreaking, yet redemptive. Like a stadium-rock anthem. Like the song thrumming in the background of a life that testifies ‘to love a place is to leave it behind.’”
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Amorak Huey is author of two previous poetry collections: Seducing the Asparagus Queen (Cloudbank Books, 2018), winner of the Vern Rutsala Prize; and Ha Ha Ha Thump (Sundress Publications, 2015). Co-author of the textbook Poetry: A Writers’ Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018), he teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.