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Afterglow / Tras el Rayo

This is the first full collection of poetry by Alberto Blanco to appear in a bilingual edition in the United States. While his reputation in his native Mexico and abroad is well established, here in the States, aside from receiving significant university appointments, he’s relatively less known. Bitter Oleander Press and translator Jennifer Rathbun are out to change that.

This is the first full collection of poetry by Alberto Blanco to appear in a bilingual edition in the United States. While his reputation in his native Mexico and abroad is well established, here in the States, aside from receiving significant university appointments, he’s relatively less known. Bitter Oleander Press and translator Jennifer Rathbun are out to change that.

Blanco’s poetry is filled by landscapes, dreamy and surreal, where rather now expected images of poetry meet up in a bizarre collision producing a familiar yet not so familiar scene:

The moon is a bone crib
rocked by the sleepy earth,
amidst thousands of stars
lit up like a luxury radio.

The poems serve as venue for Blanco’s tacit approval of rich imagery over cohesive tract: “Here pleasures sustain / the tenacious tarp of thinking.” Sustain by way of wooing visual embrace; fantastic is the word for Blanco’s descriptions that come too easily, perhaps, of his imagination’s urges. At times, reading this collection, it’s easy to agree when a poem says, “But it’s clear / obscurity dominates.”

Imagination over-rides these poems, leaving little more than a poetic feeling to the lines, as if whatever has been left behind would offer a larger perspective. The poems are strongly presented with imagery which lasts, yet are haunted by what lies behind these images. The question of what lurks beneath gnaws:

The light that hones the mirrors
and the deep voices of the encounter remain.

The double sour cherry remains
like a transcended window,
separated already from the dream.

What the dream was about and what the deep voices may have spoken of is unsaid. This is a book concerned with the lasting effects of what is no longer around on what is. There is nothing but the hazy fringe, the blurred outline of a once held feeling with which the poems have now to visit.

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