I Don’t Know Do You


Named One of the Best Books of 2014 by NPR
Finalist for Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry from the Publishing Triangle

I Don’t Know Do You gives us 102 new ways to be brilliant in our failure. We also get love poems–to daytime fireworks, several feet of snow, and astonished frontiersmen. Montes’s poems unfold into unknowing, proving again and again that we can only underestimate our capacity for love and reinvention.

What I did just now was a trick
to get people to love each other
and eventually me.

It’s working even now.

It is.

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Ampersand Books
"But buy it. Read it. Read it aloud on a balcony in the rain. Get drunk and read one very important poem long-distance to someone whose old phone number you just found in the pocket of a coat you never wear any more."
Ampersand Books
"Playful and direct, Montes's debut collection engages readers without sacrificing intellectual concerns...In a collection that demands answers to difficult queries, Montes merges beauty with sadness, reminding readers that 'every exit is an emergency.'"
Ampersand Books
"Montes offers us poems that at once challenge and invite, adopting the lens of the big-budget Hollywood romance to reinscribe the banal in the language of apostrophe. Montes' beloved, though, is not so much absent as ubiquitous.  [...] For Montes, it seems, the whole world is available, and he avails himself of it with aplomb."
Ampersand Books
"Both playful and deadly serious, Roberto Montes stakes a serious claim."
Ampersand Books
"...a debut collection that is perfect for fans and the uninitiated alike. By turns bracingly funny and deadly serious, Montes imbues his poems with wit, candor, and compassion."
Ampersand Books
"Montes' language is almost otherworldly, and his poems are, by turns, disturbing, sexy and sometimes surprisingly funny."
Ampersand Books
"In the few poems where the reader is kept at bay, where anxiety and criticism are more in focus, Roberto continues to level a steady gaze at the reader. As if to say: of course this is how it is. As if to say: I Don’t Know Do You."

About the Author

Roberto G MontesRoberto Montes is the author of I DON’T KNOW DO YOU (Ampersand Books, 2014), named one of the Best Books of 2014 by NPR and a finalist for the 2014 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry from The Publishing Triangle. A new chapbook, GRIEVANCES, is forthcoming in 2016 from the Atlas Review TAR chapbook series.


Ampersand Books
"The not knowing of I Don’t Know Do You is the affirmative uncertainty of a book whose joyous looking is bound to a glowing pain. I like all the ways I can be a person in Roberto Montes’s poems, how funny and vulnerable and defiant their measurements of identity and sexuality and language are. 'If after all this you still have capital what the fuck. Explain it to me.' What a pleasure to read a book that makes these kind of demands.”
Ampersand Books
"Roberto Montes is thoroughly keen for and vexed by bodies in the world, and how we are forever figuring out how to get to touch them. It seems a wonder that he can fit his giant matrix of feelings about bodies-not just discrete human ones, but governments, water, knowledge-into this container you're holding. The ways he makes them fit might break your heart a little ("sadness is capable of great acts of beauty"). I Don't Know Do You investigates great beauties and smaller ones too-all moving, necessary, and real."
Ampersand Books
"One way to do something is to invent an infinite way to do it. Montes takes identity and multiplies it by multiplicity, then divides it by the power of one. Readers get to experience much more than wordplay or ordinary verse-reversals; rather we ride the book like a centaur, a pegasus. Montes has a high-flying new style and a rock-solid intelligence, and so much gorgeous sky in between those two qualities. All of which imbue his ontological quandaries, queries and quaking with such wild and vertiginous pleasure."


“I am obsessed with the concept of sincerity and genuinely believe it to be one of the most interesting and difficult constructs in contemporary poetry circles,” with Alissa Fleck, Huffington Post

“Mostly I believe that poetry serves to teach us about being a person by moving us beyond our person-hood. If you run screaming down the street the first thing people do is look for what you’re running from; a kind of drawing-attention by drawing-away I think poetry is uniquely suited for,” at Vouched Books.

Roberto wants to read you “A Love Poem in the Shape of Another Climbing Quietly Out” over at The Next Best Book Club.


ISBN:  978-0-988-73287-2
102 pages
March, 2014