Poet Roberto Tejada uses lyrical poems to explore and give a voice to the troubles of global citizenship, US–Mexico relations, Latino identity, and the political emotion of queer sexualities. His collection provides a holistic ground-level view of pivotal world events from the mid 1990s to a more recent present.
Tejada’s innovative work dramatically widens the scope of Latina/o literature, showing us exactly what it can accomplish. The poems move very much like a three-act play, in which the first act is one of origins; the second, a staging of desire; and the third, a symbiosis. These acts magnify one another when unified. Each poem within the collection positions itself within the avant-garde, in which the artful use of language aims to dazzle, surprise, and enliven. The poems dance by, preserving a tension between hurry and delay, momentum and stasis, and every line is like a newly launched firecracker, sending out startling patterns of spark and flare.
Tejada’s exuberant language stretches the limits of selfhood and the way it is represented in poetry. He illuminates the tangled webs that are woven when identities are linked to sexuality, nationality, privilege, and temporality. The concerns and obsessions voiced here turn the construction of desire on its head, forcing us to ask ourselves what is worthy of our attentions.
"Tejada's dialog between linguistic play and stark insight both deconstructs and embodies the incessant media static of early twenty-first century existence."—Booklist
"Tejada's ambitious poetry derives its own difficult power from subtracting the prosaic and euphemistic veneer applied to the situation of both Latinos and Latin Americans. The results continue to be as sobering as they are inspiring."—Lana Turner Journal
“This is a book of channeling, words taking the place of other words, phrases racing back and forth across the page, daring me to read it again. Roberto Tejada lets us glimpse into his own peculiar microcosmic literary world. He turns a political eye, a distant ear, and sees lightning, hears thunder.”—Exene Cervenka
“Roberto Tejada’s important book of poems Full Foreground is complicated in its geographical, historical, religious, linguistic journey through migration of spirit and fragments of events. In penetrating the swarm of life behind the screen to see what’s happening, Tejada searches for the world between degradation and pointlessness, between the diplomacy of a speck and the outburst of a stain. Tejada has excavated the dynamic changes of contemporary human space.”—Jayne Cortez, author of Jazz Fan Looks Back
“With this book the construction of desire gets turned on its head. Tejada has already established his reputation with Mirrors for Gold and Exposition Park, but Full Foreground catapults his vision into new vistas full of consequence and excitement for American letters—and by American, I mean the Americas.”—Timothy Liu, author of Bending the Mind Around the Dream’s Blown Fuse