Sunday, July 20, 2014

How can we articulate Atlantis?

Lisa Marie Basile´s book, Andalucía, focuses intently on a young woman’s rebirth. We ourselves become sucked into the dreamscape in which the narrator is rummaging through mirrors, running around the southern coast of Spain and Cataluña ¨to find [herself] in the sea…to be prettier than the sea…wanting to become the sea. ¨

Andalucía takes us on the journey of a woman ¨unfolding her first life ¨and intending to understand her present life -- if perhaps it is more than some existential reality.

She is dressing up in versions of herself and continuously falling down rabbit holes where men and broken glass, untamed flowers, and jars of tears are strewn.  As the lucky reader of this collection I have an inclination that she may be falling on purpose, and I like it:

What if it feels good to me, walking through
eternal firy stalls? What if I’m happy to
be a sinner, to drink red until my skin turns.

Basile provides a nail biting vixen exploring her sexuality, recovering from death and ultimately finding herself again in new skin -- uncomfortable perhaps -- but new: “I am suddenly aware of myself or the déjà vu of myself and that part of me is somewhere. ¨  By using a range of dialect and personification, she gives Andalucía a somewhat folkloric quality, and the lack of titles helps it to flow as such. Titles are people, places, animals, and verbs.  

In her dreams, Dolores ¨hides nothing…cleans… cries into soap. ¨ Dolores, stemming from the verb dolor, or pain, is Spanish.  ¨Spain as the woman who knows about being conquered and conquering,” she writes.  
In her first poems it is evident the young woman wants to be wanted by Andalucía, but it is not so simple. To escape the past does not always mean escaping the pain. There is a great sense of foreboding, dread and loneliness in this collection. In deft images, Basile is able to capture this mood. In a short poem, she writes, “I fill pots with tears/for miles stretching/only to look inside/and find them empty again ” and is at once an ominous image.
Lisa Marie Basile´s book is a legendary island, a world filled of mirrors and sadness, waiting to be explored and re-explored.  Remember, ¨when you want too much, you end up in Andalucía.”

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