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Elvis Alves

ISBN: 978-1-915022-10-3

Page Count: 90

Publication Date: Friday, March 25, 2022

About this Book

In Blackfish, Elvis Alves locates beauty in the horrid and strange that constitute familial and social history. In this way, the poems grasp after the meaning of life in an attempt to ensure survival in the midst of all that it offers. Some of the poems are personal while others have a wider social reach. The collection identifies a connecting line between these two aspects and argues that the personal and social affect each other in ways that are not always apparent. Each poem carries weight that points to, and shines light on, what it means to be human.  

“Elvis Alves’ book Blackfish is a moving and powerful collection of poems both immediately accessible, and rich with complex allusions that move smoothly from the Bible through to Jazz and Reggae, current affairs, and genetic inheritance. The book presents poetry about diaspora and displacement, about class struggle, servitude and oppression, music, survival, love, hate, and every shade in-between. They are moving, personal, and universal, and every poem has the undeniable ring of painful but essential truth.”
Magdalena Ball
Author of Unmaking Atoms

Author Biography

Elvis Alves was born in Guyana and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of Colgate University and Princeton Theological Seminary. Elvis’s poetry has appeared in several magazines and journals, including Poetry, Transition, Sojourners, and StepAway Magazine. Elvis is the author of Bitter Melon (2013), Ota Benga (2017), I Am No Battlefield But A Forest Of Trees Growing (2018), winner of the Jacopone da Todi poetry book prize, sponsored by Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio (US), and Black/White: We Are Not Panic (Pandemic) Free (2020). Elvis lives in New York City with his family. 

Read a sample from this book

Merchant of Stones

I come, a merchant of stones

begging you to pick up and throw
them at the lies you tell yourself,

until they die and you live like one
who reaches Nirvana.


I cannot eat with sticks,
she says to me. 

I watch as she stabs raw fish
with a metal fork. 

For a woman whose taste is
catholic, I had expected otherwise. 


I am left without the sea to beg relief.
Gone are the days when rainbows filled
the sky of my heart. 
Today a bird
flew away without song.
Lonely is the road that
leads to home; empty is my home. 

I stand away from everything
that is joyful.
what it means
to stare beyond
the past, searching
for simplicity in being

But I digress. 
Here is the dilemma:
How can one call
what is to be
into form?
The answer lives
in the steps taken
before the Fall
when humans
spoke with God
and all mysteries were

All Poems Copyright © Elvis Alves 2022

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