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“Where Sadness is Not Mute”: Brenda Clews Reviews Pablo Valdivia’s Breathing Underwater:

breathing underwaterWriter and painter Brenda Clews recently reviewed Breathing Underwater, a poetry collection by Pablo Valdivia trans. Ross Woods. In the review, she touches upon the tone of Valdivia’s poems and explains what drew her to the collection.

Breathing Underwater was published by Guernica Editions in 2014.

Clews begins by describing the lonely and alienated tone of Valdivia’s poems:

Breathing Underwater is a sparse melancholic meditation on alienation and loneliness and the anxiety and pain which accompanies the isolation of the stranger in a strange land”

She explains that Valdivia writes from what it feels like to be a stranger, and compares the speaker to “a nomad writing about the alienated self.”

Furthermore, Clews says that it is “the sparse beauty of the poems” that initially drew her to the collection.

After a close reading, she grappled with the speaker’s predominant focus on images of loss and alienation. On one hand, she “thought [the collection] would include contradictions to the main voice, echoes of other stances, moments of joy.”

Nevertheless, she points out that it is thanks to this tone that the collection has a “more passionate undercurrent, one might say a more Spanish feel.”

Posted in Poetry, Reviews.

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