Things I Learned the Hard Way
Author: Esteban Colón
Publisher: Plain View Press (2013)
"Esteban Colon is one of the most prolific writers on the Chicago scene. His work is darkly humorous, romantically melancholy, deeply personal, and most of all, incredibly honest. This volume of poetry should be opened and treated like whiskey. Take it in in sips. This much truth can hurt if taken in large doses."
–David "Buddha 309" Hargarten
"Filled with hucksters and hustlers, humor and desire, violence and tenderness, Esteban Colon's Things I Learned the Hard Way pulsates with the life of neighborhood. Colon as a young poet grapples with the mysteries of women and of male identity, the vertigo of love and passion, and the upending realities of street-life, marriage, and maturity. Even the joys of adult relationships are not without pangs of ambivalence and resignation, the weight of hot words and memories. Colon's work is filled with droll, exuberant detail, and a buoyant, self-disclosing life-force all its own—an irrepressible vitality that will quickly belong to all its readers."
"In Things I've Learned the Hard Way, Esteban Colon gives the reader a glimpse into hard lessons, relationships both sensual and seething, and a world where 'cloud nine doesn't pack parachutes.' But beyond the loss and disconnection, there is hope and the honest recognition that 'we lie to ourselves / everyday / everyday / everyday / waiting / for someone to call our bluff.'"
"Esteban Colon talks of the kind of deeply personal things that are sappy or embarrassing without ever being sappy or embarrassing. Or self-conscious. Or cliched. He talks about the kinds of things we all live through—one way or another—but the way he says what he says makes it all familiar and new at the same time. Poetry about everyday life that's life like. Entertaining. Exciting. Neat trick. This is simply an outstanding book."