Forrest Gander

Pulitzer Prize Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Finalist

Reviewed by Rosita Chazarreta-Rourke for MultiCultural Review

Stacks Image 261
This bilingual book of poems is a selection from the Mexican author’s books published in a span of 30 years (1977-2007). Her surrealistic poems are musical; the verses are fast, with an intense use of alliterations and internal rhyme. “Of Their Ornate Eyes of Crystalline Sand” conveys a pastoral view of gardens, sewn fields, and seashore intertwined with a mystical landscape of temples, candles, and altars, mirrored on the crystalline eyes of a marble fish. “They Touch Secret Stained Glass” is also an ode to nature in its images of crickets and termites exploring the secrets of the night. The dream-like images evoke a sensual and colorful world of intense life.

There is often an open-ended quality to Bracho’s work, as in “In This Dark Tepid Mosque,” where metaphors are presented in a series of snapshots, allowing the reader to recreate the conclusion. The long and enigmatic quality of “Water’s Lubricious Edges” begins with the image of the water offering a plethora of ideas, seemingly disconnected, and written in a string of broken syntax. Short poems, such as “Butterfly,” lyrically express the beauty of nature. With similar technique, “The Posture of Trees” reminds us of the brevity of life. This book of poetry is the accomplishment of a sensitive artist whose technique goes from the creation of fluid, short, fast verses to a radical changing of syntax that gives the sense of apparently purposeless connections among random elements, characteristic of the avant-garde. The subject matter is consistently elusive. The lack of closure in these poems reflects the postmodern condition of life in all its ambiguity. The translation and introduction to this book are excellent. The poems are a challenge and a pleasure to the reader.