Each Tree Could Hold a Noose or a House

Nina Puro. New Issues, $16 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-1-936970-54-4
Puro questions global and personal history alike in a lithe, graceful dreamscape of a debut that addresses culpability, ignorance, hope, free will, intimacy, and more. “We are all part of a current, it is said, but perhaps it is dark. We become agents to projects we didn’t know existed,” Puro writes. The world described within is marked by legacies of trauma and violation on various scales, whether in regard to the effects of colonialism (“the Catholic church built around the holy Pueblo dirt”) or sexual violence (“was she a runaway, pregnant, kidnapped, hospitalized, a refugee, to return or not, partially or fully”). Stylistically, a stream of consciousness engages and retracts as Puro employs incisive wordplay, repetition, use of white space, and disjointed syntax that results in a sense of immediacy and unity. Meanwhile, a series of elegies displays Puro’s dark humor: “they’ve cordoned off/ our block with coffeeshops/ like they’re making a moat.” Throughout, Puro challenges readers to confront their own perceptions and discover what lies beneath: “This riot is not/ A fable or a metaphor. I am telling/ You the truth. I am telling/ You everything. I’m making/ A face under my face.” (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/05/2018
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