Cruel Futures

Cruel Futures
City Lights Spotlight Series No. 17

Carmen Giménez Smith
City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 7:00 p.m.

celebrating the release of

Cruel Futures

City Lights Spotlight Series No. 17

Opening reading by Barbara Jane Reyes

A Latina feminist State of the Union address at the intersection of pop culture and interiority.

Cruel Futures, the fifth collection from Latinx feminista Carmen Giménez Smith, is a witchy confessional and wildly imagistic volume that examines subjects as divergent as Alzheimers, Medusa, mumblecore, and mental illness in sharp-witted, taut poems dense with song. Chronicling life on an endangered planet, in a country on the precipice of profound change compelled by a media machine that produces our realities, the book is a high-energy analysis of popular culture, as well as an exploration of the many social roles that women occupy as mother, daughter, lover, and the resulting struggle to maintain personhood—all in a late capitalist America. Like Joanne Kyger, Giménez Smith deploys humor while depicting the quotidian and its function as sacrament.

Praise for Cruel Futures:

"Carmen Giménez Smith's beautiful book, Cruel Futures is one of those rare books, rare pieces of art, that manages to be extremely intimate, vulnerable and close while also doing a kind of searing cultural critique. The poems can be tender or ironic, and sometimes a blending of the two, which is not easy, but occasionally yields lines like these, from the amazing and amazingly titled poem 'Ravers Having Babies': 'So much to do so little skin / left for transformation . . .' Somehow those lines for me get at the remarkable humanity in this book, the remarkable wisdom, which is ravenous, sorrowful, and dreaming. Like, probably, you are. Like me."––Ross Gay

"In the body, through the lyric, and twitching with every sense of the word 'nerve,' this book sings a mongrel nation into and across its cruel futures. Like Neruda in his Plenos Poderes/Full Powers, Giménez Smith has all the mastery she needs to cast a cold eye on her positioning, and ours. In this way Cruel Futures is an autobiography that won't stay in its genre or premise, caring less to author a self than to follow turns of magic in words that might soothe our 'collisions with the living.' Inheritor and conduit of an Latinx artistic tradition, this primer on how to 'feed the yearning' Anzaldúa wrote of leaves us broken and stronger, 'Slick with lip gloss, with legend.'"––Farid Matuk

"Declamatory anthems to no nation, these songs stride as they deal and wheel with skin and kin: history, catastrophe, the body, love. 'Upturned and defiant, all types of shade, no outskirt, / vital like a saint,' the poems in Cruel Futures shimmer with Giménez Smith's lyric attention: full of grit, sharp and knowing."––Hoa Nguyen

"15 Poets You Need to Be Reading in 2018"
Dec 31, 2017

Carmen Giménez Smith and her forthcoming book, Cruel Futures, included in this list.

"Cruel Futures listed in the top 10 in Publishers Weekly's Spring 2018 Announcements"
Dec 8, 2017

Tuesday, March 27th, 7:30 pm
Lake Forest, IL: Lake Forest College, Meyer Auditorium in Hotchkiss Hall

Carmen Giménez Smith reads from her new book, Cruel Futures, as part of the Lake Forest College 2018 Literary Festival. This event takes place at the Meyer Auditorium in Hotchkiss Hall, Lake Forest College 555 North Sheridan Rd. Contact Teryn Robinson at 847-735-5167 or at least 72 hours in advance for any disability accomodations.

Thursday, March 29, 4:00 pm
New Haven, CT: Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Carmen Giménez Smith reads at Yale University along with Roberto Harrison. Part of the Yale Collection of American Literature Reading Series, co-sponsored by the Yale Race & Innovative Poetics Working Group. Beinecke Library is located at 121 Wall St., New Haven, CT. For more information go to 

Wednesday, April 4th, 7:30 pm
Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Tech, Pamplin Hall 30

Carmen Giménez Smith will be reading from her new book Cruel Futures at Virginia Tech, alongside Dan Albergotti. Part of the Virginia Tech MFA visiting writers series. Pamplin Hall is located at 1030 Pamplin Hall, Blacksburg, VA. For more info, go to

Thursday, April 19th, 4:00 pm
San Jose, CA: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library

SJSU alum Carmen Giménez Smith returns to read from her new poetry collection, Cruel Futures at the Legacy of Poetry Festival. This event takes place at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library in Downtown San Jose: 150 East Fernando St., Room 590.