Poetry Society of America Norma Farber First Book Award finalist
Where a Nickel Costs a Dime captures the hip-hop rhythms and in-your-face intensity of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, a downtown Manhattan club where the hottest young poets are finding their fame.
Willie Perdomo’s poems, in the tradition of Amiri Baraka, Langston Hughes, and Ntozake Shange, meet at the intersection of the street and the academy.
The world in these piercing and heartbreaking poems is Spanish Harlem, “where night turns to day without sleep,” where “Puerto Rico stays on our minds when the fresh breeze of cafe con leche y pan con mantequilla comes through half-opened windows and under our doors,” where “babies fall asleep to the bark of a German shepherd,” where “Independence Day is celebrated everyday,” where “the police come into your house without knocking. They throw us off rooftops and say we slipped. They shoot my father and say he was crazy. They put a bullet in my head and say they found me that way.”
The poems in this debut collection meet at the intersection of the street and the academy. Willie Perdomo is a cutting-edge bard who speaks to the soul of his generation.
“Langston Hughes has been reincarnated and lives in Spanish Harlem. His name is Willie Perdomo. Where a Nickel Costs a Dime is a priceless, precious package of poetry.”
— Claude Brown, Manchild in the Promised Land
“As you will see, Willie Perdomo is a new and important voice a Djali (Griot), and here he is right on the gig. Like they say, Djeli, Djeli, Djeli Ya (gettin’ down) and rising up!”
— Amiri Baraka