ISBN: 978-1-62557-090-1
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Categories Nomadic, Poetry

Evaporating Rage

Publication Date: August 2024


In June of 2023, Black Lawrence Press welcomed numerous existing and forthcoming Nomadic Press titles to our catalogue. Evaporating Rage is one of the forthcoming Nomadic Press titles that we acquired.


In Evaporating Rage, Norm Mattox’s poems seethe with precisely articulated rage and pain.

From police murders to the institutional racism that permeates this country, he eloquently elucidates our desperate need for social and political change. “George Floyd choked to death / on the acid and bile rising in his throat, / mixed with fear hate and racism / blocking his windpipe” (from “positional asphyxia”).

The content gradually shifts to an exploration of an inner world that reconciles rage with endurance and resilience. These poems throw out lifelines of hope and appreciation for the wisdom of embracing life in spite of its unpredictability and adversity as in these lines in “from horizon to horizon”: “balance your accounts on a full crumb like two slices of life / the past and the future both rising and falling / on both sides of the equal sign.”

Read this book to vitalize your spirit and catalyze our fight for justice!

Kimi Sugioka, poet Laureate of Alameda, California

The brilliant, concentrated angers of Norm Mattox’s verse meet the indifferent cruelties of this world head-on with these pointedly eviscerating poems. Evaporating Rage is full of vulnerable strength and moments of great beauty and clarity. These poems hit like hammer strikes and are observant, informed, and explosively wise.

James Cagney, author of Martian: The Saint of Loneliness, winner of the 2021 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets

Norm Mattox’s poetry collection Evaporating Rage is a powerful work that explores the complexities of identity and the experience of fully belonging. With stark, precise language that cuts to the bone, Mattox delves into the most intimate corners of the human psyche, exploring themes of loss, longing, and the meaning of being a Black/Brown person in a polarized and chaotic country.

Drawing on the traditions of both confessional and experimental poetry, Mattox’s work is at once raw and refined, unflinching in its honesty and yet hauntingly beautiful. Through a series of tightly crafted vignettes and lyrical meditations, Mattox invites us to bear witness to the weight of words, to the power they hold to both wound and heal.

Norm Mattox is a poet to watch, a voice that is both urgent and timeless.

MK Chavez, author of Dear Animal and mothermorphosis

Norm Mattox is a consummate educator with a love for words. He brings us into his laboratory of life, not to create monsters, but to share wisdom. Norm blends his gift of spoken word cadence with biting words inviting us to investigate the lives of people of color in America. A place where we seem doomed to have anything—from a comb, to a phone, to an open palm—be misinterpreted as a deadly weapon, inviting others to take our lives.

Mattox carries us through the Big Bang, leaky logic, biology, mathematics, and fractalization as he speaks of lives too often spent looking for “ground to bury [our] light.” But the mitochondrial lineage of ancestors cries out to be heard as we continue to rage against injustice. And Mr. Mattox gives a serious and wholehearted response to that call.

Evaporating Rage is filled with hard truths, plaited with love. But, be warned. This is not a book built for a straight through, comfy read with a cup of tea. It must be digested incrementally, in bites, appetizers, and entrees, like all knowledge.

As we stand against “the wailing winds of trauma,” seeking to lift ourselves and those we love, while holding onto sanity and humanity, Norm Mattox is a light in this darkness, teaching us along the way that rage can only evaporate when it is fanned with the flames of love.

Martina McGowan, author of i am the rage

About the Author

Norm Mattox

Norm Mattox is a poet. He served as a bilingual educator in the public school system of San Francisco Unified School District for over 30 years. Though retired, Norm is a teacher ('maestro' in Spanish) for life. His poetry is a journey through the voices that tell a story of love in a time of struggle and challenge. Norm has shared his poetry as a featured reader, at open mics around the San Francisco Bay Area, select venues in New York City and other parts of the world across the ‘zoom universe’. Norm's poetry has been published in two chapbooks. His first collection is titled, Get Home Safe, Poems for Crossing the Community Grid. Norm's second chapbook length collection is titled Black Calculus, published in 2021 by Nomadic Press. An audiobook by the same title was released in 2021.

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