Thursday, January 28, 2010

Long Poems We Like: M Miriam Herrerra

"Elegy for an Angelito" on page seven of Albatross #19 by M. Miriam Herrerra

It's difficult for me to describe how much, and why, I love this poem. The bodiliness, the muscular transformation of body to image back to body, the intimacy of the narrative, the texture of the shifting tone, moving from self-mocking to heartbroken to hopeful, not as a spectrum but a jamble of conflicting emotional movements. How desire lays in the same bed as loss, how nature is a thief that steals back what it gives. How the language is clear and completely accessable and filled with music and wit.

"Elegy for Angelito" is a great example of how a poem working in lyric sections can work over the course of several pages while maintaining interest, even though the whole of the narrative takes place in the first sections. The emotional work of the poem is to deal with the fallout of the narrative--and over the course of five pages, Herrera teases out the different strands of loss and loveliness available to her.

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