Ima & Colia Are The Tree That Was Never A Seed
By: Alejandro Pérez-Cortés - Akashic Books, $18.95
Description: Ima and Coli Are the Tree That Was Never a Seed is Alejandro Pérez-Cortés’s personal genesis of Colima, Mexico, published here in both English and Spanish.
The tree is an element/character in the book that appears and disappears throughout. Some poems are set in an ancient pre-Hispanic Colima; others reflect the reality of a modern-day Colima, sadly stigmatized and eroded by violence perpetrated by the narcos.
Verdict: To be quite honest, I have read a lot of books in my time, many more than anyone should within the confines of the recent lockdown, but this one will stay with me for an eternity, I should imagine (and hope).
In his introduction, preeminent Cuban poet José Kozer praises Pérez-Cortés: Ima and Coli Are the Tree That Was Never a Seed comprises a voice that I consider poetic and that should be cared for and listened to with true interest. A voice that encompasses all, one that seeks to integrate, remake, and modify normative language when necessary, and to distort language that allows a better perception of the present and of everything that is historically behind a contemporary poet, and if I could have ever written anything that outshone that soliloquy here I would have done, but come on now, how on the nose is that?
OK, sure, you might not actually know given you might not have actually read this simply divine book yet, but I urge you to buy it, settle in on a quiet, rainy afternoon, and allow the words to flow freely over you and through you, for Ima & Colia Are The Tree That Was Never A Seed will free you from your, perhaps, spiritually cloistered being early on.
Winner of the National Poetry Series Paz Prize for Poetry, Pérez-Cortés’s collection pays homage to his hometown of Colima, Mexico, and celebrates nature and place, but is wholly not grounded to those specifics; which allows the reader (based anywhere) to become one with the spirit of the author in a heartbeat.
The Paz Prize for Poetry is presented by the National Poetry Series and Miami Book Fair at Miami Dade College and is awarded biennially. Named in the spirit of the late Nobel Prize–winning poet Octavio Paz, it honors a previously unpublished book of poetry written originally in Spanish by an American resident.
About the Author Alejandro Pérez-Cortés was born in Colima, Mexico. His poems and short stories have been published in various Mexican newspapers. Pérez-Cortés’s first English poems appeared in the anthology Soundings from the Salish Sea: A Pacific Northwest Poetry Anthology.
He holds an MFA from New Mexico State University with an emphasis on Spanish-American literature, and currently teaches Spanish at North Creek High School in Washington State.
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