the iceworker sings and other Poems

Bilingual Press, 1999, re-released in 2017

“… a great, grieving, and angry song of protest and promise. Andrés Montoya raises a strong voice for the people who inhabit the barrio of Fresno, California, and brings to the general reader sagas of their hope and disappointment, full of resolve and the resurrection of spirit. There is an urgent call to solidarity here and the powerful claim of a specific compassion. To those otherwise unsung peoples who labor, who bring us food, and who suffer the violence of anonymity, Montoya’s prophetic voice gives names, faces, speech, and honor." - Garrett Hongo


“In his first collection, Montoya confronts the stark reality of poverty suffered in America by unskilled laborers, especially the Latino community of California. His poems reach out like prayers to those who have ‘regrets for quitting/ school at 16 for the job at PDM steel,’ for he knows that these are the people headed for violent realities, as when ‘the cops came/ and shot him/ 27 times.’ Yet while Montoya addresses these harsh realities, he brings a tenderness to his work that reflects the tone and style of Pablo Neruda. For example, ‘Letter to Sarah’ ends with this line: ‘a memory resting in my gut like/ a tear already fallen from the face.’ Yet the poems constantly return to the graphic details of living in poverty and violent surrounds where ‘the night always scares you/ ever since they shot Efrain in the face.’ Through his poetry, Montoya lifts up the dead by giving them a voice; much like Philip Levine, he speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves. - Library Journal

a jury of trees

Edited by Daniel Chacón

Bilingual Press/Letras Latinas 2017

"To know Andres Montoya was to have your life changed. This long-awaited treasure reveals the genius of Montoya's ferocious brilliance and the glory he saw everywhere and in everyone. a jury of trees is a loving and revolutionary act, edited with grace and expertise, published almost twenty years after Montoya's premature death. Savor and be changed by the nine-part masterpiece generation, the epic manifesto pákatelas, and the breathtaking leukemia poems. Shaped in Fresno and taken from us too soon, Montoya may have left the physical world, but his mark on American poetry is indelible and profound. There was simply no one like him, and there never will be." - Lee Herrick, Fresno Poet Laureate


"I bathe in Andres's posthumous collection, in its divine last-breath razors, in its broken, healing, and cosmic and lonesome warrior heart and its brave shields for the abandoned, the ripped, blood-spattered shadow beings ambling through parking lots. My city is also a place of meditation, of crossing from this tangled, hurt, cutoff land to the sacred filters and terrains of ecstasy and soul-deep illuminations. The text itself demonstrates a gifted artist at work, its care, its moving-thinking patterns evolving until it reaches new channels of clarity, simplicity, and incredible and total realization." - Juan Felipe Herrera, United States Poet Laureate


"Unapologetic as a poet, a speaker, a thinker, a brown man in white America-this is what I remember about (Montoya) most, and reading a jury of trees brings it all back again...Daniel Chacon's keen editorial eye and his intimate friendship with Andres make this posthumous collection a gift from the beyond. It is a gift to poetry, to humanity, to the world. In the way we still heed Phil Levine's verses, or how the central valley still echoes in the poems of Larry Levis, this body of work that spans Andres's adult life assures that we will continue to keep the poet and the man alive in our hearts and pens for generations to come." - Tim Z. Hernandez, Author of All They Will Call You

Pákatelas - In the Grove: An Homage to ANdrés Montoya

Guest Edited by Daniel Chacón

Spring 2008 In the Grove

In 2008, the Fresno based journal, In the Grove, dedicated what would be its final issue to Montoya’s life and work. Edited by Daniel Chacón, the issue featured poetry and reflections from friends, family, mentors, and fellow poets. Artwork by Montoya’s father, Malaquias, graced the cover, and the issue also introduced Montoya’s previously unpublished poem “Pákatelas.”


Now out of print, the entire issue can be downloaded as a PDF for free.