Promises of Gold (5.5 hours), written and narrated by José Olivarez, delivers slice-of-life poetry about growing up in Chicago with Mexican parents and finding love of every kind: familial love, easy romantic love and unspoken love from buddies who will never let you down.
A portion of the audiobook is performed in front of a live audience, which is such a smart choice for a collection of poetry. The audience’s reactions and laughter lend a sense of community you can only get from a live reading, and Olivarez feeds off this energy, delivering a strong performance. His disarming sense of humor clears a path for him to address heavier subjects including class inequality, alcoholism and where we go when we die. He has a clear love of language but keeps his word choices simple, making this collection an accessible entry point to modern poetry. The second half of the audiobook contains a Spanish translation by David Ruano, making Promises of Gold a rewarding experience for Spanish and English speakers alike.