Maurice Kilwein Guevara views the poem as a living art form that stretches well beyond the traditional bounds of poetry. Citing the Catalan avant-garde artist Joan Brossa, who printed the word POEMA on a clear lightbulb, Kilwein Guevara rethinks the interconnectedness of form, context, and meaning in a poem. While he is aware of the blood flow through a single poem—and his poems are coursing with life—he is simultaneously aware of the capillary effect that nourishes every poem in this collection. His engrossing experiments with form and his often startling juxtaposition of poetic subjects succeed so well because they are animated by a unifying force: the poet’s hyperawareness of our fragile—and frequently confusing—humanness.
Inside this book you will find a poema asking itself a litany of questions, two lovers taunting fate with each kiss, Gertrude Stein as an infant discovering language in Pittsburgh, Plan Colombia spraying farmers’ fields with herbicides, and a beetle crawling into the ear of a president as he trumpets his imagined glories. Lines in Spanish sneak unannounced into a poem here and there, only to sneak out as quietly as they entered. Dictators rise and fall. Lovers quarrel. Humans, we begin to understand, are always vulnerable: as vulnerable to our lovers as to our rulers; as vulnerable in our bodies as moths, perhaps, or spiders. And in the end you have to wonder “What wakes you/just as you begin to dream of Heidegger / in a clouded field of summer chives?”
"It is rare to see contemporary writing so passionately crafted and so hyper-aware of the conventions of poetry, which is precisely what gives this poet license to stray from these very conventions. Here is a body of work at once troublingly beautiful and haunting. Lovers of language will surely swoon." —MultiCultural Review
“Maurice Kilwein Guevara's POEMA is a necessary book for our time. His poems ‘howl in the trees’ and they are made of the stuff of daily life: ‘broken pallets, seeded grass, fingernails, and tamarack needles.’ It is through these things that the poet's spirit springs forth, angry and tender, grieving and playful. Guevara has achieved great balance in his poems. POEMA is the work of a mature and remarkably gifted poet.” —Pablo Medina, author of The Cigar Roller
“In his original, and superbly wrought, new volume of poems, Maurice Kilwein Guevara is righteous, funny, tender, melancholy, outrageous, musical, philosophical, terrifying, formal, colloquial, a realist, a surrealist, and a visionary—all at once. This poet takes us places we hadn’t visited before.” —Jaime Manrique, author of Our Lives Are the Rivers
“Maurice Kilwein Guevara writes with exacting emotional detail, whether the subject is an instance of the personal or an instance of the political, or the merging of the two. The people, images, and attitudes that inhabit the poems in POEMA are unforgettable.” —Michael Burkard, author of Envelope of Night: Selected and Uncollected Poems, 1966–1990