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Eduardo C. Corral
       Apá, dying is boring. To pass las horas,
                                                             I carve
                                        our last name
                                                     all over my body.
I try to recall the taste of Pablo’s sweat.
                                                               Whiskey, no.
                                              Wet dirt, sí.
                                                       I stuff English
        into my mouth, spit out chingaderas.
                                                            Have it your way.
                                        Home of the Whopper.
for the border. ¡Aguas! The mirror
                                                        betrayed us.
—from “Testaments Scratched into a Water Station Barrel”
Guillotine traverses desert landscapes cut through by migrants, the grief of loss, betrayal’s lingering scars, the border itself—great distances in which violence and yearning find roots. Through the voices of undocumented immigrants, border patrol agents, and scorned lovers, award-winning poet Eduardo C. Corral writes dramatic portraits of contradiction, survival, and a deeply human, relentless interiority. With extraordinary lyric imagination, these poems wonder about being unwanted or renounced. What do we do with unrequited love? Is it with or without it that we would waste away?

In the sequence “Testaments Scratched into a Water Station Barrel,” with Corral’s seamless integration of Spanish and English, poems curve around the surfaces upon which they are written, overlapping like graffiti left by those who may or may not have survived crossing the border. A harrowing second collection, Guillotine solidifies Corral’s place in the expanding ecosystem of American poetry.

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The astonishing second collection by the author of Slow Lightning, winner of the Yale Younger Poets Prize

About the Author

Eduardo C. Corral is the author of Slow Lightning, winner of the Yale Younger Poets Prize. He was a founding fellow of the CantoMundo Writers Conference, and recipient of a Whiting Award. He teaches at North Carolina State University.

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  • “These poems step ‘into the grit / & whirl’ of the desert like a fervent saint: devotional, rhapsodic, divine. . . . Guillotine is a timely, excoriating, and captivating book born of perilous times.”—D. A. Powell
  • “A master artist. . . . Only a poet as skilled as Corral could connect rejection from the US nation-state with unrequited love to such effect. Carefully code switching between Spanish and English, Corral is a poet to be studied for his radical contributions to the American canon.”—Natalie Scenters-Zapico
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