Author: Camilo Roldán
Publisher: Ornithopter Press (2019)
In 1971, Lee Lozano wrote, “IDENTITY CHANGES CONTINUOUSLY AS MULTIPLIED BY TIME. (Identity is a Vector.)” Throughout his first full-length book of poems, poet Camilo Roldán, who has taken the late artist Lozano as a sort of spirit guide, appears to challenge identity to the point of crisis. The poems in Dropout cover seven years of the author’s life in New York City. Roldán has since left the US for Colombia, where he has found work as a translator in Bogotá. The contrast between cultures and dialects and an increasingly intimate engagement with intertextuality and the diverse contingencies of language may have given him the perspective to look back across a relatively short time span to compose this extraordinary book. Dropout is distinctly the work of a bilingual writer intent on foregrounding intertextual relationships as a kind of interlingual liminality. A preoccupation with translation as authorship, and conversely, authorship as translation, wends its way through mistranslations, ekphrasis, mixtures of English and Spanish, collage poems, citations, glosses and the ephemeral tracings of a reader’s identity vector.