Saturday, August 9, 2008

Mexican-American experience in poetry

Stephen Burt has just reviewed 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border, Undocuments 1971-2007 and Half of the World in Light, New and Selected Poems by Juan Felipe Herrera in the New York Times (August 10, 2008):

"Herrera's best work seems not formless but endlessly fertile, open-ended, full of beginnings: 'Stop resisting the rupture. / Stop grasping the form,' he advises, 'recognize the rubble. My mother's rubble sky.'"

Burt makes the point that even as he writes about borders, Herrera's poetry defies boundaries, involving "a new hybrid art, part oral, part written, part English, part something else: an art grounded in ethnic identity. . ."