In ‘Machete,’ Texas poet searches for hope during hard times

Tomás Q. Morín reflects on raising a newborn during a time of racial reckoning and a global pandemic, in his new collection of poems.

By Jill Ament & Glorie MartinezOctober 14, 2021 2:20 pm, ,

Becoming a parent changed Houston poet Tomás Q. Mórin’s outlook on racism, identity and life during the pandemic. In his new collection, “Machete,” Mórin questions how to prepare his son for life in modern America. He explores the country’s legacy of racism and the importance of joy as a survival tool.

“The main theme that the poems in this book deal with is, how do we as people and as communities, how do we manage and endure really hard times? What are the survival strategies that we do in order to figure out how to endure?”


Courtesy Penguin Random House

“There’s poems that deal with the legacies of racism and also how racism, at times, feels like it keeps morphing and adapting to whatever we throw at it.”


“Before, racism felt like it was very much a personal thing. Now, it’s like, I not only have to survive racism, but I have to figure out how can we as a family prepare my son?”


“The one thing that I hope they take away is just how important laughter and smiles and light are to surviving this sometimes crazy, unbearable time that we live in. You know, just the sort of reminder that our anger and our bitterness and our rage aren’t enough to help us survive this. Like, we need joy.”

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