Confession time: I still feel unsure when it comes to reviewing poetry. Aside from assigned reading in school, it’s not something that I’ve sought out over the years. There were definitely poems that I enjoyed, but I always felt like I just didn’t “get it”. In the past year, I’ve read more poetry than ever, and while I still consider myself a newbie, I’ve learned that it is something I enjoy—I think I was just never reading the write poems before. Now that I’ve ventured into the world of dark/horror poetry, I’ve come across some collections that I’ve connected with, but none have hit me in the feels like Cynthia Pelayo’s POEMS OF MY NIGHT.
Up until this point, I felt a bit like I was stumbling through the art museum, watching others stand in awe and admiration of pieces that I didn’t understand– and then suddenly I found the piece that spoke to me. There were many things I loved about these poems. The most intense and effective for me were those centered on topics such as insomnia and death. I loved how the titles were in Spanish. This added an even deeper sense of culture and authenticity to the writing for me. Another unique fact about this collection is that it was written in response to the poetry of Jorge Luis Borges (whose work I’ve not read, but will be seeking out in the future). Pelayo’s words come alive on the page, and while I had many favorites in this collection, my top selections were:
-La Noche Ciclica
-La Joven noche
Several of these pieces made me tear up, and many of them had me returning to the beginning for a second read to savor the words. I feel that my experience with this collection is further proof that we’re missing out if not reading widely, especially within the horror genre. We don’t have to share the same cultural background and life experience as the author to connect with the writing. I’ve said it before and will again—I myself have a lot of work to do when it comes to adding variety to my bookshelf. I’m happy that Latinx Book Month was brought to my attention, and I was able to load my shelves up with some work I might’ve missed out on otherwise, including this collection. I sincerely look forward to reading more from Pelayo, and hopefully soon. I loved her voice and stories woven into these poems—this is quality writing that makes me want to seek out more poetry for my shelf.