Winner of the 2020 Alice James Award
A Rumpus Poetry Book Club Selection for August 2022
Praise for Brother Sleep:
"This book is a beautiful haunting. Formally inventive and alive, Aldo Amparán’s first collection Brother Sleep is essential reading for anyone who’s ever made it through night. The poems again and again seek definition for what can never be defined, living in the liminal space between the poet and memory. Amparán gifts us with a clear and important voice in this queer reckoning with landscape, desire, illness, and touch."
—sam sax, author of madness
“Aldo Amparán’s Brother Sleep is a deep meditation on the loss of a brother, queer love, and surviving violent homophobia on the U.S.-Mexico border. Set in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and El Paso, Texas the two cities hold the people that populate these poems like a bedroom where all you can do is sleep. Here people are stuck in the nonlinear world of dreams, pain, and mourning. Here people long for and find affection amidst unspeakable violence. Amparán’s vision of the border is stunning, beautifully crafted, and gut-wrenching. One of the most exciting young voices in fronterizx literature writing today."
—Natalie Scenters-Zapico, author of Lima : Limón
"Aldo Amparán’s Brother Sleep is a wild ride of litanies, odes, elegies, and love poems. Each poem is an example of a poet who’s mastered the craft well enough to retrace steps back to the place where family, nationhood, and exile meet, 'I know Death/Is as fat, tall,/& white/As the edge/Of this page.' This is a beautiful debut."
—Jericho Brown, author of The Tradition
"The poems in Brother Sleep, Aldo Amparán’s debut collection, slink and stagger across the page as they explore homoeroticism and the speaker’s painful estrangement from a deceased brother... [Amparán manages] moments of gentler sensuality by combining exquisite imagery, expertly crafted consonance, and subtle syllabics."
"Brother Sleep declares war on the people, places, and words that stand against the powers of reconnection and re-creation by calling out the truth of their love for family, of their queer identity, and of the terror and violence against the bodies and minds of gay men. In their arsenal, Amparán wields memory, pain, and love, but not from the ubiquitous emotional landscape. Instead, they draw upon the ancient tradition of mourning loss through oratory, by sharing in poems that separate us from each other and bind us together."