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Alan Chazaro: This Is Not a Frank Ocean Cover Album

Poetry. California Interest. Chicanx Studies. In his debut short collection, poet Alan Chazaro takes us from the moonlit Bay Bridge to dark Oakland bars to tire shops to backyards to the fireworks and dirt paths of Mexico City.

Chazaro’s speakers battle to find internal truths in a world defined by external opposition. Here, we glide from Frank Ocean to 80s synthpop, from Half Moon Bay to Athens, from Oscar De La Hoya to Wolverine. This is a collection about navigating multiple worlds, about traversing from boyhood into manhood. In poems that crackle with “scorpions in the dark” and “Lauryn Hill’s voodoo” and “fat / Adidas laces and barbershop fades,” Chazaro explores what it means to curate a sense of self as a millennial first-generation California Chicanx writer. His speakers are driven by a desire to control their identity in a world where they haven’t been able to control much else—as the children of immigrants, as the occupants of ever-shifting spaces, as bodies that belong and don’t belong.

Structured like a rap mixtape, each poem on the “track list” is an ode to some vibration of memory, sound, or Chazaro’s native Bay Area landscape. THIS IS NOT A FRANK OCEAN COVER ALBUM, just as we are not ever actually ourselves—but a collection of fragments from our component influences and cultures, a reflection of the choices we make in search of a more genuine self.

“I say fuck
because it feels right
about now,
and I say love because
what wrong
could it bring?
I haven’t shot a pistol
since my stepdad
flung his Desert Eagle
from the bedroom and took us
to burst freedom as kids.”

• Winner of the Spring 2018 Black River Chapbook Competition

• Alan Chazaro is the author of THIS IS NOT A FRANK OCEAN COVER ALBUM (Black Lawrence Press, 2019) and PIÑATA THEORY (Black Lawrence Press, 2020). He is currently an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco, a columnist at Palette Poetry, and is raising money for NBA arena workers during COVID-19.

Alan Chazaro
This Is Not a Frank Ocean Cover Album
2019
Publisher: Black Lawrence Press
ISBN: 978-1-62557-825-9
Poetry
Paperback
Pages:40
Price: $ 9.95

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