I recently came across an old review I did on one of the most astounding books of poetry I've ever had the privilege to read. Every now and then, I pick it up to re-read and each time, I get blown away again. Check it out. Buy it. The poetry is amazing.
Title: Bent to the Earth
Author: Blas Manuel De Luna
Publisher: Carnegie Mellon University Press
I just finished reading the most astounding collection of poetry from a Tijuana born poet and writer, Blas Manuel De Luna. It is incredible!
The title poem Bent to the Earth speaks of the violence against migrant farm workers, the beating, the fear, the loss. Separation of husband from wife, mother from son, neighbors and friends gone. It brought tears to my eyes as did my favorite from the collection, My Father, Reading Neruda. The beauty of this final stanza moved me so deeply that I found myself crying in the early morning rush to get ready for work.
“But now, Neruda. Now, poetry. Now, poems.
I go near him. He is near
the end of the book; his finger marks
his place in a poem, in the poetry
that we have in common,
and that carries us both.”
The slim volume is packed with heart wrenching and sadly, true accounts of the life of the immigrant farmworker. Blas Manuel De Luna writes poignantly and beautifully of despair and loss, death and violence.
In his poem Into America, one can feel the anxious waiting for the darkness that will possibly give a few brave souls access into a new life on the other side or maybe just waiting another day with their desire to cross.
Mr. De Luna is one of the most eloquent and insightful poets it’s ever been my pleasure to encounter. His writing is crisp and conveys a depth of feeling so profound and haunting that it stays long after the book is closed. Read this portion of his elegiac poem to his little brother, The Sky Above Your Grave.
“If you could see through satin and wood and earth
and bits of grass,
if you could see through the trees in winter
when their leaves are gone.
if, little brother, there were a way for the dead to see,
you would see all the ways the sky has to be beautiful."
I feel that this is such an important little book for so many reasons. It is a slim volume and packed with such powerful messages. It is a lesson in humanity. It is the voice of protest. It is a call for action.
(This review first appeared on AmoxCalli)