Willie Perdomo is the author of three previous poetry collections: Where a Nickel Costs a Dime, a finalist for the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award; Smoking Lovely, the winner of the 2004 PEN Open Book Award; and The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Poetry, BOMB and The Common. Perdomo teaches at the Phillips Exeter Academy.
Advance praise for The Crazy Bunch
"An energetic musicality of language is on full display, electrifying every exchange . . . If "We Real Cool," the iconic eight-line poem by Gwendolyn Brooks, had bloomed into a full-length collection, it might be The Crazy Bunch." --Book Page "New York-born Puerto Rican poet Perdomo has been widely recognized for his streetwise lyrics and crackling depictions of life in NYC at the turn of the twenty-first century. In this collection of witty dialogue, fast couplets, and hip jargon, Perdomo immerses readers in his native East Harlem of the 1990s . . . Perdomo's colloquial, storytelling style is in full effect, replete with nostalgic recollections of childhood haunts, striking in their simplicity. The result is both a whirlwind of colorful rhythms and an enduring portrait of tight-knit friends suffering through loss. [Perdomo is] a talented wordsmith . . . quick-footed, hip, vivid, and savvy." --Booklist "The Crazy Bunch is a miracle and a gift. An ars poetica that 'belly-sings the ambrosial hour' of an unforgettable crew. Street sonnets, gangsta ghazals, and Boricua blues stanzas face interrogation by the Poetry Cops, but these poems bust free. 'Who you again?' Don't bring your dictionary; Willie Perdomo rewrote the damn thing." --Evie Shockley "Twenty years after Where a Nickel Costs a Dime, the poet emerges from the lived experience of urban culture with a mature blossoming. Perdomo writes with a faith in the beauty of the intersectionality of what makes East Harlem all things. Perdomo's is a love that awakens in the beauty of the present moment, with an architecture that pays homage to a culture under siege, to those who died and those who survive in the collective genius of one's own song." --Afaa M. Weaver "The Crazy Bunch possesses the thickness of a book of short stories, and its poems are filled with brio and brilliant language, comedy and grief, nostalgia and notoriety. Perdomo has produced here a new classic, an essential contribution to American literature." --David Mura "While ostensibly about a small crew in 1990's East Harlem, this collection is in effect a most indelible ode to a people, a place, an era. The Crazy Bunch is full of wit and charm and humor; full of hip-hop history and compelling story; full of the keenest of revelations and language that reads as if running off electric current." --Mitchell S. Jackson "If Jean Toomer had written toward Harlem rather than Georgia, and done it in the age of hip hop rather than jazz, the book to emerge might read a lot like Willie Perdomo's fourth collection, The Crazy Bunch . . . Using imagined dialogues, riffs, and long Whitmanesque lines that taper to a trickle, The Crazy Bunch feels less like a book of poems than a dramatic psalm of memory to a time and place that isn't always easy to recall." --John Freeman, LitHub executive editor
Praise for The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon: "A vivid portrait of a late-twentieth-century Nuyorican musical community . . . Perdomo manages to mix the language of city life with a sense of the transcendent." --NPR.org "A rollicking, pleasurable excursion into the world of a musician created in the memory of the author's late uncle, Shorty." --The Washington Post "With his new collection of poems, Perdomo offers a soulful melody that is as deep and vital and dynamic as the poet's roots in New York City's Nuyorican poetry scene. . . . With Shorty, Willie exercises a mastery of language and imagery that hums us into a furious clave of grace." --Poets & Writer