poem index

About this poet

Jack Agüeros was born on September 2, 1934, in East Harlem. A community activist who has written extensively on issues of immigration, Agüeros served as the director of the Museo del Barrio in East Harlem for eight years. A writer for the stage and television as well as a poet, his work deals with the complexities, challenges, and struggles of the Puerto Rican experience in America.

Agüeros’ books of poems include Lord, Is This a Psalm? (Hanging Loose Press, 2002), Sonnets from the Puerto Rican (Hanging Loose Press, 1996), and Correspondence Between Stonehaulers (1991). He is also the translator of Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos (Curbstone Books, 1996), the author of the stories collection Dominoes & Other Stories from the Puerto Rican (Curbstone Books, 1995), and the editor of Immigrant Experience: The Anguish of Becoming American (Dial, 1992). Agüeros has received numerous awards for his work, most recently the Asan World Prize for Poetry in 2012.

He died in New York City on May 4, 2014 at the age of 79. 



Selected Bibliography

Poetry

Lord, Is This a Psalm? (Hanging Loose Press, 2002)
Sonnets from the Puerto Rican (Hanging Loose Press, 1996)
Correspondence Between the Stonehaulers (Hanging Loose Press, 1991)

Prose

Dominoes and Other Stories from the Puerto Rican (Curbstone Books, 1995)

Sonnet Substantially Like the Words of F Rodriguez One Position Ahead of Me on the Unemployment Line

Jack Agüeros, 1934 - 2014
It happens to me all the time--business
Goes up and down but I'm the yo-yo spun
Into the high speed trick called sleeping
Such as I am fast standing in this line now.

Maybe I am also a top; they too sleep
While standing, tightly twirling in place.
I wish I could step out and listen for
The sort of music that I must make.

But this is where the state celebrates its sport.
From cushioned chairs the agents turn your ample
Time against you through a box of lines.
Your string is both your leash and lash.

	The faster you spin, the stiller you look.
	There's something to learn in that, but what?

"Sonnet Substantially Like the Words of Fulano Rodriguez One Position Ahead of Me On the Unemployment Line" from Correspondence Between the Stonehaulers by Jack Agüeros, published by Hanging Loose Press. © 1991 by Jack Agüeros. Used by permission of Hanging Loose Press. All rights reserved.

Jack Agüeros

Jack Agüeros

Jack Agüeros was born in 1934 in East Harlem.