Milkweed Editions (paperback, 02/11/2020)
* New & Noteworthy: “Here is a ship, an ocean. / Here is a figure, her story a few words in the blue void.” Rick Barot’s fourth collection, The Galleons (Milkweed), transcends an inquiry into colonialism’s past. Instead, while rendering transcontinental and transoceanic mercantilism—from Burma, China, Vietnam, and the Spanish galleons via Central and South America to the Philippines—with wondrous precision, the reader is entrenched in how the poet’s mind scrutinizes current reverberations of colonialism. A poem, sometimes made up of lists in archives, is constantly being turned in on itself, a reflexive looking at trinkets, items, in order to get through to the interior wilderness of a self. A subversion of authority into a kind of sensual reevaluation makes these poems riches themselves. This is a book as much about power and history as the freedom to love, to make, to make mistakes, and—still—to come back clearer, fuller, even after having strayed, with grief, those long distances.