ire’ne lara silva @ Rabbit and Rose
ire’ne lara silva is a CantoMundo fellow and the author of Furia (Mouthfeel Press, 2010). Her poem “there will be singing in the morning” is currently featured at Rabbit and Rose. Here is a favorite excerpt:
“and i spiraling in the sky i would like to die
singing let there be song in my throat
spilling out let my last breath be song”
For me these particular lines capture ire’ne’s search for a poetry that sings against the violence of mute suffering and which serves as a reminder that all acts of human creativity are acts of self-assertion and of healing.
Angel Garcia @ Connotation Press
Poet, educator and CantoMundo fellow Angel Garcia is featured over at Connotation Press with a number of poems, among them is “Untitled.” With its lyrical and narrative exploration of pilgrimage and masculinity, this poem is both a search to reclaim poetry as ancestor and to honor it by remembering what is life’s pilgrimages leave behind:
“never my great-grandfather’s name, Narciso Palma, never his bones.
I’ve been told that he died alone, in a dilapidated shack,
his body wrapped in the cocoon of a hammock, the fluids
from his body, mostly cheap tequila, puddled beneath him.
I read the postcards he sent to my grandmother in search
of metaphor, and instead, within the beautifully intricate lines
of a cursive long extinct, discover the ghost of a man
who abandoned his children in search of words”
I come out of this poems surprised and startled by where it has taken me but also assured by a poet who reminds me that poetry’s primary concern is life—a force that pushes the poet’s hand “trembling across the page.”
Lucas de Lima @ Counterstrike
Born in Brazil and raised across the Americas, Lucas de Lima is a contributor to the multi-author blog Montevidayo.com and the author of the chapbook GHOSTLINES (radioactivemoat, 2012), an excerpt from that chapbook is currently featured at Culturestrike.
De Lima writes in GHOSTLINES “ These poems mythify the alligator attack that killed my dearest friend in 2006. To write this book—to inscribe myself into its bloodstained ecology—I have to become a bird.” What does myth do to Ana Maria—the “dear friend” in these poems—what does it do to the speaker, to the alligator? In this transfiguration of man and woman, of bird and reptile the reader finds herself lost in a narrative that challenges the ways in which we conceive of our bodies and those with the power to conceive the myths that transfix the bodily conditions of others (from “I FLY INTO GOD’S FACE”):
& ASK HIM ABOUT MY DEAD BEST FRIEND
THE ALLIGATOR IS ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD WHEN I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF
I FEEL CONTIGUOUS WITH THE LANDSCAPE
LIKE ANY FLATTENED BIRD WHO SNEEZES BACK TO LIFE AFTER GETTING RUN
OVER BY A TRUCK
I AM LEARNING TO STRAIGHTEN MY SPINE
Rosa Alcalá @ Academy of American Poets
Rosa Alcalá’s poem “At Hobby Lobby” is currently featured at The Academy of American Poets. Reading Rosa’s poem immediately brought me back to November of last year, when Latino/a Poetry Now was kicked off at Harvard University with a reading featuring, Eduardo C. Corral, Aracelis Girmay and Rosa Alcalá. Prior to that reading Carmen Giménez Smith and Joyelle McSweeney graciously profiled Rosa’s collection of poems Undocumentaries (Shearsman, 2010) (Carmen with an interview and Joyelle with a book review) for Letras Latinas Blog. In that interview Rosa reflected on the concept of labor and class and the larger themes evoked by the title of Undocumentaries: “When I started this book, I wanted to write about factory work because suddenly, as a first-year tenure track assistant professor, I knew no one who worked in a factory ….I also started to think about the difference between documentary films/historiography and the lyric poem, how one comes to represent the archive and how the other gathers what is left on the cutting room floor. I wanted the book to in some ways bring together both of those impulses….”
Here is a favorite moments from “At Hobby Lobby” that “bring together” the poet’s lyricism with the historiographer’s documentation:
“My mother kneeled down against her client and cut threads from buttons with her teeth,
inquiring with a finger in the band if it cut into the waist. Or pulled a hem down to a calf
to cool a husband's collar. I can see this in my sleep and among notions. My bed was inches
from the sewing machine, a dress on the chair forever weeping its luminescent frays.”