Throwing the Crown
Author: Jacob Saenz
Publisher: American Poetry Review (2018)
“His themes are easily sentimental. . . . There’s a tension in the work that I just find incredibly fresh.”
–Gregory Pardlo, judge of the 2018 Honickman First Book Award
Winner of the prestigious Honickman First Book Award from the American Poetry Review, selected by Pulitzer Prize–winner Gregory Pardlo, Throwing the Crown describes a boyhood on the edge. Set in a Chicago neighborhood dominated by gang life, Saenz sets the sweetness and vulnerability of youth against the cold reality of a gun pressed against a forehead. Full of accelerative sound―tight rhymes and short, percussive lines―these poems follow a fast-paced trajectory from danger to survival, pausing to acknowledge the beauty and humor in the details along the way.