Maurice Kilwein Guevara
Publisher: The University of Arizona Press (2009)
Maurice Kilwein Guevara views the poem as a living art form that stretches well beyond the traditional bounds of poetry. Citing the Catalan avant-garde artist Joan Brossa, who printed the word Poema on a clear lightbulb, Kilwein Guevara rethinks the interconnectedness of form, context, and meaning in a poem. While he is aware of the blood flow through a single poem—and his poems are coursing with life—he is simultaneously aware of the capillary effect that nourishes every poem in this collection. His engrossing experiments with form and his often startling juxtaposition of poetic subjects succeed so well because they are animated by a unifying force: the poet’s hyperawareness of our fragile—and frequently confusing—humanness.
Inside this book you will find a poema asking itself a litany of questions, two lovers taunting fate with each kiss, Gertrude Stein as an infant discovering language in Pittsburgh, Plan Colombia spraying farmers’ fields with herbicides, and a beetle crawling into the ear of a president as he trumpets his imagined glories. Lines in Spanish sneak unannounced into a poem here and there, only to sneak out as quietly as they entered. Dictators rise and fall. Lovers quarrel. Humans, we begin to understand, are always vulnerable: as vulnerable to our lovers as to our rulers; as vulnerable in our bodies as moths, perhaps, or spiders. And in the end you have to wonder “What wakes you/just as you begin to dream of Heidegger / in a clouded field of summer chives?”