Teeth Never Sleep
Winner of the 2018 CantoMundo Poetry Prize
Published by University of Arkansas Press
Winner of a 2019 American Book Award
from the Before Columbus Foundation
Finalist for the 2019 Open Book Award
from PEN America
Finalist for the 2020 Kate Tuft Discovery
Award from Claremont Graduate University
Teeth Never Sleep
Poems by Ángel García
89 pages, 5 ½ × 8 ½
ISBN paper : 9781682260739
CantoMundo Poetry Series
Drawing on folklore and fantasy, childhood memory and hallucination, and marked by a tone of piercing divulgence, Teeth Never Sleep nimbly negotiates the split consciousness a culture of dominance requires of men, especially men of color, highlighting the fissures in selfhood created by the pressure to seek submission over intimacy while still wanting desperately to be loved, and tracing the contorted route by which emotional pain finds expression in violence. “The night my girlfriend tells my mother I beat her, /I feel betrayed. This was a secret we kept between us. /That night, I was no longer my mother’s loving son,” the speaker in one poem confesses, and later “I never wanted to be this kind of animal.”
And yet, through the lens of Ángel García’s sharp imagining, men frequently appear as beasts (sometimes literally)—as hybrid beings both tender and brutal—that he steadfastly refuses to let off the hook as he obsessively catalogs the origins of toxic masculinity (the first time I made my mother cry, the first time I pitied my father, the first time I saw a girl bleed) and its quiet, lasting effects: “Still a part of me believes a / man shouldn’t cry in front of a woman, even in the dark.”
In a culture of weaponized masculinity, the poems in Teeth Never Sleep make a doorway of a wound, inviting readers to walk through and sit down inside the raw pain they contain to meditate on two central, urgent questions: what it means to be a man and how, as a man, to love.
"el Banquete." Original Art by Guillermo Lorca.
2018 CantoMundo Poetry Prize Judge and Author of Alternative Medicine
"Sometimes ferocious, and always ferociously honest, Ángel García's poems address themselves to the cycle of violence that arises at the many borders, both enforced and inhabited, in the US-Latino experience: between macho stereotypes and sensuous masculinity, between painful alienation and penitent acceptance, and ultimately, between loss and love. Yet for all the bruised fists, black eyes, and broken jaws here, there are no victims in these harrowing poems, as they search not for blame, but for bravery — the courage to see oneself in the mirror, and recognize our universal humanity always hungrily staring back."
Author of City of Bones
"Teeth Never Sleep is an auspicious and daring debut by a poet whose attention to the line and the possibilities of well-crafted metaphors is remarkably accomplished. These are poems that appreciate that risk in poetry demands vulnerability, and the quest for truth requires a willingness to excavate the complexities of human emotion and thought. Garcia’s poems about masculinity, displacement, language and desire are powerful and deeply affecting."
Juan Felipe Herrera
Poet Laureate of the Unites States 2015-2017
"How could there be tenderness, pleasure and myth, resurrection and even fur inside rivers — in brutality? This is the book that stands alone in its midnight boldness, its veined shadow secrets. One of the most difficult arts of the poem is to descend into its light-less under-realms, into what lies beneath the elegant surfaces — here Ángel examines our gendered, warring bodies, man, son, lover, husband, father, mother, ghost woman — our stripped down self unmasked, our garbled, foamed and delirious, lonesome acts — our “animalia.” Open this book if you dare. But it is not the animal smashed suddenly, torn away from its innocent gait (that García animates in various forms) that he is redeeming. In his hands, these pages, notice how Ángel García still cups an abandoned child-shaped flame, a night nation perhaps, breathes into it, regardless of its alarming fangs. This is a raw, unsutered, incredible collection. One of a kind — nose-breaking, heart devouring, blazing volume."
REVIEWS & INTERVIEWS & PRESS
Báez, Diego. “Teeth Never Sleep.” Booklist Online, Sept. 2018.
Montes, Amelia. "Teeth Never Sleep: Interview with Poet, Ángel García." La Bloga, Sept. 2018
Hutchinson, J Bailey. "Teeth Never Sleep." The Arkansas International, Dec. 2018
Amen, Lindsey. "García nominated for national poetry honor." Nebraska Today, Feb. 2019
Gomez, Rodney. "Teeth Never Sleep." Latino Book Review, Mar. 2019
Broderick, Sabrina. "Ángel García to speak about masculinity, toxicity in gender expectations."
The Daily Nebraskan, Apr. 2019
The Daily Nebraskan, Apr. 2019
Hopkins, Christopher. “Tour Grind: Ángel García.” Fear No Lit, 15 May 2019
Yamamura, Jean, et al. “April Is National Poetry Month.” The Santa Barbara Independent, 30 July
Pérez, Emily. “REVIEWS - RHINO -.” RHINO, RHINO, 4 July 2019
Schmid, Katie. “Book Review: Teeth Never Sleep, by Ángel García.” ConnotationPress.com, July 2019
Gonzalez, Jose B. “2019 Top Ten ‘New’ Latino Authors to Watch (and Read).” Top Ten New Latino and
Biga, Leo Adam. “Award-Winning Omaha Lit Fest Author Angel Garcia Explores Toxic Masculinity
in His Book of Poems.” El Perico, 12 Sept. 2019
Chambers, Erin. “García Wins American Book Award for Debut Poetry Collection.” García Wins
American Book Award for Debut Poetry Collection | Department of English | Nebraska, Sept. 2019
Joffre, Ruth. “Inviting Invention: A Craft Roundtable with Chen Chen, Ángel García, and Bayo
Ojikutu " Kenyon Review Blog.” The Kenyon Review, 24 Sept. 2019
Rocha, Iliana. “‘The Four Corners, the Edges, and Various Colors’: An Interview with Ángel García: by
Iliana Rocha.” Waxwing Literary Journal: American Writers & International Voices., Nov. 2019
Brown, Rick. “UNL's Angel Garcia at Frank Museum's Front Porch Poetry Series Tuesday.” Kearney
Hub, 16 Nov. 2019
In front of wood-warped shack in Patagonia stands a mule.
In its eye you see something wet, stooped beneath the rain
— the saddest creature you’ll ever see. Say it’s not the mule,
but your mother standing there, suitcase in hand, waiting by
the train tracks that long ago corroded. Here, the ocean cares
little what you do with your life, and the skies, purple plumed
in white, are indifferent, always cold. Tell her what you know.
This land will never be good to her. Remind her how once
she ripped open a pomegranate and piled seed after seed into
your palm until you forgot your hunger. That was years ago.
Tell yourself what you know. Tomorrow will be the best day
for your departure to a city across the world. The rains will
soon stop. Finally, the soil will be soft enough to embrace her.
Ángel García, the proud son of Mexican immigrants, is the author of Teeth Never Sleep, winner of a 2018 CantoMundo Poetry Prize published by the University of Arkansas Press, winner of a 2019 American Book Award, finalist for a 2019 PEN America Open Book Award, and finalist for a 2020 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His work has been published in the American Poetry Review, McSweeney's, Crab Orchard Review, RHINO, Connotation Press, Tinderbox, Huizache, Miramar, Waxwing, The Acentos Review, The Packinghouse Review, and The Good Men Project among others. He has also received fellowships from CantoMundo, Community of Writers-Squaw Valley and Vermont Studio Center.
Currently, Ángel is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned a PhD from the University of Nebraksa, Lincoln, an M.F.A. from the University of California-Riverside, a B.A. from the University of Redlands, and an A.A. in Creative Writing from Long Beach City College. In addition to his creative and academic work, Ángel is also the cofounder of the non-profit organization, Gente Organizada, that works to educate, empower, and engage communities through grassroots organizing. He lives in Champaign, Illinois and is working on his second collection of poems.