José Angel Araguz
An Empty Pot’s Darkness

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José Angel Araguz’s fourth full-length poetry collection takes readers through a series of poetic sequences that engage with ideas of life, love, death, and friendship. Whether holding elegiac conversations with writers known personally or known only through reading; braiding the folklore of La Llorona with the narrative of a past relationship; or exploring concepts of mortality, these poems explore the nuances and depths of life eight lines at a time.

Cover design: Beth Ford
ISBN: 978-1-950404-02-5
Paperback: $16
Publication date: September 11, 2019

José Angel Araguz is a CantoMundo fellow and the author of seven chapbooks as well as the collections Everything We Think We Hear, Small Fires, and Until We Are Level Again. His poems, prose, and reviews have appeared in Crab Creek Review, Prairie Schooner, and The Bind. Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, he runs the poetry blog The Friday Influence and teaches at Suffolk University in Boston where he is also the Editor-in-Chief of Salamander.

Learn more about José’s work at his site.

Praise for An Empty Pot’s Darkness

Araguz is masterful in his command of language, creating both astonishing beauty and devastation with the lightest gestures. In strikingly elegant octaves, he points to the revolution of time, of existence itself—our vulnerability to erasure, dissipation, then rebirth. This work, too, is a cycle: an eternal conversation between writer and tradition, poet and reader, ink and paper. Words take on new forms each time they return, clothing themselves as ash, prayer, alms, and gold.

— Adeeba Shahid Talukder, author of Shahr-e-jaanaan: City of the Beloved (Tupelo Press, 2020)

The poetry in, An Empty Pot's Darkness, brings stunning moments of beauty to notions of what if, death, the moon, and lost relationships. Rooms we enter can hold crushing memories. Love and the laughter of a food fight can be traced by the sorrow of dust. Araguz's octaves bring out the grey gloom we hold in our core as we live through bittersweet and mystical journeys. Araguz's poetry gives the reader an epic story in few lines.

— Vincent Cooper author of Zarzamora - Poetry of Survival (Jade Publishing)

These eight-line poems are deftly woven tapestries in which light and dark are not opposites but gradients. Likewise wistfulness and passion, playfulness and melancholy, invocation and isolation. Likewise what it means to be dying, and to be alive. These poems and the silences within them kept me turning the pages   and turning back to read again.

— Laura M Kaminski author of The Heretic's Hymnal: 99 New and Selected Poems (Balkan Press)

Excerpts from An Empty Pot’s Darkness

from the section “for Dennis Flinn”

Promise me you’ll never put me in
a story.
I unfold these words from
others said over ten years and wish

     they’d lead to more. Advice. Jokes.
     Living will in your wallet.
     When you took it out and wrote

my name alongside your wish to be
cremated, the page creased like your face.


My room in your house was bare.

 I painted the walls bright green
for no other reason than
it made you laugh. Living there,
I’d hear you turn and shuffle
papers, until I couldn’t.

 The day you died: I didn’t
know it until days later.


You gave me a door to make a desk,
     set it across cinderblocks,
a door between the floor and ceiling.

 I began to write. I’d knock sometimes
     when stuck, the echo short, but
enough for me to want to listen.

 Did you write this on the door? I still see
you hold the page as if you could walk through.