Rainbow: Poemsby Robert Vasquez
At The Rainbow extends and transforms the visionary faith of Robert Vasquez's mentors Whitman, Williams, Frost, Borges, Rilke, and Bishop. Dancing 'among the deep-bodied ones, ' the poet draws us with him to the dance floor, 'man to woman, song to song.'
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I had the opportunity to meet Robert Vasquez earlier this year because we participated on a poetry panel concerning Chicano poetics. He impressed me with his thoughtful and eloquent answers to the various questions from the small but intense audience. So, I bought his book, 'At the Rainbow,' and I'm delighted I did. His poems are rooted primarily in three things: his identity as a Chicano, his status as a Californian, and the natural world presented by the California terrain. One of my favorite poems is 'California Sonnets: Night Sequence,' where Vasquez paints a picture of Los Altos, California: 'I look up at the night's broad back/gone crazy with tattoos of light, seasonal/signs almost beyond stoppage, and let/the unsayable build skyward.' Or in 'Coyotes' where Vasquez remembers that as a child, he found 'a carcass, split open/and shelled of all gray/sponge-like organs, the heart/and lungs gone from this vest/of coyote....' This is a finely-crafted, powerful collection that will create living images of California in your mind's eye.