April is National Poetry Month and what better way to celebrate the month of poetry then by reading books from local poets. I have searched my bookshelves to find a few of my favorite Central Valley Poets.
We all love the classics. right? Homer, Akhmatova, Milton, Neruda, Yeats and so on, but what about the current poets. Today's poets are the names we will be reading in years to come. They speak to our generation and their immortalized words will always remind us of what the world was like today. I know the four books I've selected below will always remind me of a season in my life, a person, a moment during the 2000's that I will never forget.
For instance, De Luna's" Bent to the Earth", I purchased at Tower Records, Sacramento in 2006. At the time my seven-year engagement was painfully coming to an end and oddly enough, so was Tower Records. I remember taking the book to our then home, and sitting on those dreadful baby blue couches when I read the stanza below and succumbed to the universal language of loss.
"There were no great truths
revealed to me then. No wisdom
given to me by anyone. I was a child
who had seen what a piece of polished wood
could do to a face, who had seen his father
about to lose the one he loved, who had lost
some friends who would never return,
who, later that morning, bent
Then there was the moment when my husband who is not a reader, read Chacon's "The Cholo Who Said Nothing", never having read a poem, much less an entire book of poetry, said to me, this book was so real and truthful to what it really feels like after losing a mother, with his Asian eyes full of sadness.
Or when at Toca Winery in Madera, when the song Paloma Negra resonated between the walls of Marisol Baca's "Tremor" book release party, and in my hands I held Marisol's book, reading the poem "Helena" and I thought to myself, life is so good, so, so good.
Joe Rios wrote an amazing collection of Poetry with "Shadowboxing". Rios was editor of a college newspaper we wrote for in Fresno. He is one of the most original human beings I have ever met, and he is such a great writer. His book "Shadowboxing" should be on every bookshelf in the world.
Poetry emotionally charges the soul. When a poem is well written it is like a bolt of lightning giving way to see and understand the world a little bit clearer. These four books of poems have done just that for me and I am sure they will for you also. I hope you grab a copy of each and let the words take you on a journey of what life is like in the Central Valley. Create your own moments with Poetry!
Happy National Poetry Month!