A Condensation of Maps, Roberto Carcache Flores’ twenty-six page poetry chapbook debut, flows naturally, reads honestly and breathes freely. The book is published by Dink Press and introduced by founder/editor, Kristopher D. Taylor. In his brief introduction (two paragraphs) Taylor clarifies the press’ intent and ethos.
“…we wanted to use what resources we have to promote the craft of poetry, supporting the emerging writers who are struggling to get their work recognized. We are in the game for the sake of good poetry being written and read.”
Taylor goes on to explain how Flores and the proceeding poems are a perfect fit for Dink Press and its aforementioned ambitions.
“Every poet has room to grow, and he is going to grow into a driving force in modern poetry. I am very honoured to be able to publish this, his first collection, and am very much looking forward to his future – I hope it grows beyond Dink, and I’m sure it will. Wherever his career takes him it will be far.”
The book contains twenty-one poems of moment and place, which were written over a period of six years. Whether the poems were agonised over throughout those years or if a new addition was added at the whim of a sporadic muse, is the reader’s guess. The collection in theme and execution speak of spontaneity and measured contemplation.
In Kristopher D. Taylor’s introduction, Flores is claimed reminiscent of “a surrealist Williams, or perhaps Lorca.” For this reviewer, Li Po is brought to mind. Let’s make a distinction here; the poems herein do not read like Li Po imitations. They do, however, much like Po’s poetry, make comment on the world, by wondering at whim, letting go, and becoming part of the world’s natural process. The first poem, El Tunco, sets a scene and establishes the on-going theme of wonder lust.
This is the place
the space between
your toes has been
every time you
went to sleep,
even in the
dustiest of sheets
to a playlist
about blue skies,
and a violet sun
on the sea
(from El Tunco, pg 1)
The above poem and the poems to come are birthed from and brimming with desire. They capture moments without incarcerating or stifling them. Flores is ever-present throughout the book while maintaining enough distance for the poems to breathe their own breath, allowing the reader to take ownership. A remarkable use of evocative imagery makes this reading experience a wholly participatory affair.
You heard rumours
from a local
allergic to the ashes
the wind blew,
sacks of black beans,
and men who believed
in the freedom
(from Leaving Perquin, pg 3)
In the poem, Nyack Blues, the drudgery of man-made pressure and the abuse of time are held to account. In the poem, XO, O urges X to “run wild among/the most silent of does.” In, April, an angel, “answers to/the moon/like anyone/who’s been/stranded.”
Flores is an undeniably romantic fellow, but his romance is far from fanciful. His hope for freedom is prefaced by strangling routine. His longing for fulfilment comes from a place where the unfulfilled dwell. His intention toward healing is an acknowledgment of brokenness.
(from XO, pg 10)
All of the “You and Your” poems ache with longing.
(from Treatment, pg 12)
Borders Left Behind could be argued an incongruous poem within this otherwise well-themed batch, as it makes vague comment on the freedom of movement. Considering the complexities of migration and the implications of war-afflicted communities having no safe place to go, a quick remark in amongst a set of poems about exploring the world, lacks the weight this subject deserves. As a single piece, though, it works well and the imagery is equal to that of its counterparts.
a black seal
on a feather
an eagle soars
too far from
(from Borders Left Behind, pg 15)
To echo Kristopher D. Taylor’s introductory assertions, “A Condensation of Maps, is fresh, modern and relevant.” Roberto Carcache Flores writes textured poetry; exceeding his years in both humility and experience. Taylor is right; Flores has the potential to grow into a driving force in modern poetry.
Author: Roberto Carcache Flores
Publisher: Dink Press
Title: A Condensation of Maps
Page Count: 26
Purchase Link: http://dinkpress.bigcartel.com/product/a-condensation-of-maps-by-roberto-carcache-flores
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