Postmortem: Poems

Maurice Kilwein Guevara, Author University of Georgia Press $14.95 (77p) ISBN 978-0-8203-1562-1
In his first collection, Colombian-born Guevara presents a captivating view of immigration as seen through the eyes of a five-year-old boy whose ``first surprise in this new America is unspoken: Snow.'' It falls all around him ``like a million stars. He looks up at his mother, who is changed'' symbolically from brown to white. Guevara's vivid use of color binds him to all those estranged from their homeland, whether other emigres, retarded adults or a history teacher recalling the Vietnam war. In another empathetic poem he describes Scottish immigrant John Kane, who during lunch break paints landscapes on the sides of the railroad cars he's about to cover with fresh coats of black paint. Two recurring figures dominate many poems: angels (sometimes taking the human form of Angela) and ``the Young Beast'' (the persona for a playful self, sometimes even becoming physically bestial). This young beast serves as a fitting display for Guevara's gentle, and often self-mocking, sarcasm. As with any poet who strives for humor, there are poems that are simply too slight or self-conscious, but this volume contains enough strong work to make it a worthy debut. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/03/1994
Release date: 01/01/1994
Genre: Fiction
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