Reviews for Slow Lightning : Poems

Booklist Reviews 2012 March #2
The first Latino winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition is also gay, but he doesn't write poésie engagée for either minority. He writes poems of experience and observation that frequently reference the suffering of illegal immigrants without sloganeering or bloody-shirt-waving. Technically, they're dazzling and visually striking, ranging from sonnets to various unrhymed stanza-forms to free verse that splashes down the page or sprawls on it sidewise, bottom-to-top rather than left-to-right, or is pressed into columns by justified margins on both sides. In manner, they are realistic (see "Border Triptych"), fantastic ("Immigration and Naturalization Service Report #46," a prose poem), surrealist (the first of two poems entitled "Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome"), and hybrids of those three ("Poem after Frida Kahlo's Painting The Broken Column"). He mixes colloquial Spanish and English, and he packs many, many lines with sharp, sensual, specific imagery--this is Technicolor poetry. When a poem is about his father or his lover, or when it touches sex, it purrs with affection, desire, and joy. Very engaging. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.