2016: Rodrigo Tuscano

Rodrigo Toscano is an experimental poet, playwright, and labor activist. He is the author of several collections of poetry, among them: Explosion Rocks Springfield (Fence Books, 2016); Partisans (O Books, 1999); The Disparities (Green Integer, 2002); Collapsible Poetics Theater (Fence Books, 2008), which was chosen for the National Poetry Series; and Deck of Deeds (Counterpath Press, 2012). Poet and essayist Brian Blanchfield had these words to say in the PEN America about Toscano's Explosion Rocks Springfield, a work that "consists of eighty iterations of a kind of book-length system, a machine—as I read it—that runs class and labor and collective anxiety and grief through a single disastrous urban American incident, an event frequent enough to be generic, a lesser item in any news cycle. 'The Friday evening gas explosion in Springfield leveled a strip club next to a day care,' the journalistic title of each poem, resets the operations of an inquiry that moves in and around the news of a violent blast. These are five of the books’ poems, continually combustible at the limits of our untenable pressure." Five of Toscano's poems from Explosion Rocks Springfield are featured here. You can also head over to Puerto del Sol, a journal by MFA candidates at New Mexico State University, where a great and thoughtful interview with Toscano appears.

Photos from Rodrigo Toscano presentation. LSGS’s YouTube video of Toscano’s reading can be seen here.