Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Okay, I know -- a poet out there attempts statistical analysis and in the process misrepresents Meritage Press as well as what I do (thanks y'all for bringing it to my attention but I'm not bothered by it). I could write a tome tearing it apart but, as an economist-turned-poet, I only have compassion for poets who so falter at ... numbers-crunching.

Relatedly, what's been happening recently with me is that whenever pressure sources heat up, I've been turning to poetry books -- without intention, I've done three reviews in two days for Galatea Resurrects. It's a healthy antidote: unmediated lovely poems remind me the fulmination (even when well-intentioned, there's agenda, right?) of poets ain't the point. The point is the poems themselves, such as this excerpt from one of the most fabulous poetry collections I have read in at least the past three years (probably longer but my memory only goes that far): Mauve Sea-Orchids by Lila Zemborain, translated from the Spanish by Rosa Alcala and Monica de la Torre. This first (and about time!) full-length English poetry collection by the Argentine writer is published by Belladonna Books. Kudos to all who made this possible; here's an excerpt:
like the orchid patiently waiting for the bumble-
bee that will pollinate it, an unexpected wind
causes the flower of scents to burst open and
glands begin to secrete their effluvia so the
bumble-bee at celestial distances may perceive,
amid the night's fragrances, the intoxicating
substance; at the call of instinct it will fly
unaware of the destination of its random journey
until arriving at the site of the encounter; there,
beyond essences and circumstances, wrapped
in the scented sphere, they mate unknowingly,
because it is not their bodies that embrace and
touch, but the ethereal substance that overflows
and contains them....

You can open the book at random and every single page contains sinuous, luminous passages, which also often contain deeper meanings. In the above passage, for example, I glean an ars poetica of sorts, that is, just as one may begin a poem without knowing where the poem will go, "at the call of instinct, it will fly / unaware of the destination of its random journey / until arriving at the site of encounter."

Beautiful. THAT's not just what I'm talking about! THAT's what I choose to talk about!

Here's one more excerpt from this book I do suggest you run out to get:
cellular foundations, open your eyes, look at
the species, touch the thickness, amplify sense
of touch at the ends of your body; it is not in
the water where sound dissolves; it is in the
thicket, where serpents are growing

Moi poetics: no need to deny the serpents the luminous flowers, for those blooms' fragrances are ferocious...!