Thursday, March 18, 2010
From Rosa Alcalá's New Book of Poems, Undocumentaries, From Shearsman Books
What It Means to Be Civilized
Such guilt. Such pandering to antiquity. These Colima dogs wear our faces, but for them nothing is worth translating from the Latin. That we've invented forms for the epic means we depend on the largesse of plaster and paint to mask our own pitiless story. What we translate into is a heroic suffering, always a hexameter wide from ear to eye. These dogs look to a place that expands, and we will clutch to them in our graves, reciting the conditions of our exile. They will leave as our bones pile up around them, proudly for a room full of still lives, somewhere far from Europe.
Copyright © Rosa Alcalá, 2010.
"Rosa Alcalá, originally from Paterson, N.J., is a true daughter of W.C. Williams, with a distinct, gutsy, and penetrating identity twining a public poeisis with her own luminous particulars..." "...Alcalá's imagination and language disarmingly penetrate and extend these powerful devices and activating signals. The face we see is hers and our culture's own. I celebrate this book." --Anne Waldman