about Dusting on Sunday:
Sam Pereira’s poems are built to last. The expertly turned sentences and lines show exquisite craftsmanship. But Pereira’s poems reach way beyond craftsmanship. With a tonal range that includes hilarity and wonder, righteous indignation and whispered affection, Pereira accounts for experience the poet’s own and all of ours with the fidelity and big-heartedness of a first rate artist. Like the horse who appears in one poem, this book waits generously for you, and then it “takes you on the ride of your life.”
Sam Pereira, a self-described “great disappointment / Of the universe,” infuses his poems with sadness and humor and something more… something ineffable. In poems that are “Sexy, mysterious, in pain,” Pereira allows desire to diminish until it falls, at last, within our grasp: “I / Crave the small things / In America, which grows / Predictably quieter, trying / To find its soul.” His deeply felt lyrics channel the voices of wise deadbeats and casual sophisticates. Like a night of sipping single malt Scotch and listening to Chet Baker while recalling ex-lovers, these poems provide those exquisite sensual pleasures that “make [our] lives remarkable again.”
Dusting on Sunday is a must-read. Sam Pereira’s poetry creates an entire universe in which the possible and impossible seamlessly coexist. In a familiar world in which the wind picks up small leaves & garden insects, depositing them in the neighbor’s yard in which fathers die, and love is found and lost the unfamiliar happens as well. God is a great rabbit, the screams of lobsters will never be heard, horses never learn to read, Tupac is rapping to the angels, and Sinatra would be singing the author’s songs were it not for the fact that he’s dead and shooting dice at the Sands Heaven. Dusting on Sunday is filled with intelligent wit that allows its deeper themes to be heartfelt by the reader. Don’t miss out. Read this book!
about A Café in Boca:
Reading Sam’s poems is a little like falling down a magic rabbit hole: the world you thought you knew gets rearranged and what you’re likely to encounter is “pain or the funniest thing in America,” often both in the same moment. Sam has a certain dead-pan way of inventing stories in a lingo that makes them all the more remarkable. He’s an original.
When I think of languages combining like blood and milk, resulting in surprising lyric changes across someone’s poetry, I think of Sam Pereira’s work and a rural background of Portuguese fishermen. He moves from the female oratory to a punk idiom as skillfully as anyone half his age just now beginning to write poems. There is a shyness in Pereira’s work that insists on invented lives that arrive in the morning, a heavy deliberate and as flabbergasted as the rising sun.
I’ve been an admirer of Sam Pereira’s poetry for thirty years now, marvelling constantly at his intelligence and humor, his bravado and high style. Sam Pereira’s poems are often both disarming and alarming, or perhaps, first alarming, and then tenderly disarming. There is a fantastic American swagger to these poems, part John Berryman and part Richard Hugo, part Hemingway and part film director David Lynch (if you don’t understand what I mean, check out “Cat Galaxies”). The hyper-real intensity is mediated by the irreal, or the surreal, as public histories and private histories collide and send showers of sparks across the page of every poem.
— David St. John
about The Marriage of the Portuguese–Expanded Edition:
How wonderful to have The Marriage of the Portuguese available again in a new expanded edition. The poems, original and new, are fresh, timely, and subversive-noir adventures set in whiskey-light and bloodlust, measured by deft moments of surrealism and surprising, focused imagery. Desire and doubt tag-team here, forcing us to confront our human condition: that we are always in transit, ever in exile. These are California poems with the old country in back, in family, in confession, in an unapologetically lapsed faith, in jazz and samba, and, whether in love or unrequited, always passionate. Sam Pereira is an essential voice in American poetry.
—M. L. Williams
From the haunting title poem to the hard-won wisdom of the concluding section, we see Pereira as a consummate word magician whose easy banter and fresh language constantly defy our expectation with deft leaps and risks. He ultimately leads us to a world that is both familiar and surreal, and concludes, “It was a simple world after all….”