My bilingual book of poems Réquiem is set for release by June 1, 2021. I’ve included the Preface or Words from the Poet below as an introduction.
Words from the Poet
Réquiem is a multisubject, bilingual attempt at art in Spanish and English. Though some poems in this collection allude to death directly, relate to death indirectly, or consider an afterlife, it also includes many poems that are lighter, happier, or address life in general. Why did I choose Réquiem as the title? To answer the previous question, we must first consider the following: What is a poet?
What is a poet? Two creatures in one: the individual as a human & the poet as an individual. These creatures have two things in common: birth & death. The life that unfolds between these two biological events inspires, touches, scents, tunes, colors, and seasons their words. To feel, touch, smell, hear, see, and taste the essence of their words, all we have to do is read or hear them sincerely and honestly, without agenda and allowing them to rapture and possess us.
More often than not, this bipartite –yet melded– being suffers both biological death and poetic death simultaneously. On the other hand, some poets are fortunate. Their poetic deaths occur years, decades, centuries, or sometimes millennia after their biological deaths.
There is still another group of poets whose poetic deaths dawn upon them while still breathing, years or decades before their biological deaths –hence, the chosen title: Réquiem. Upon our poetic death, as poetic rigor mortis sets in, we simply wait for biological death and the comfort of being absorbed into poetic nothingness. However, there is another path. We simply move on to our second poet. This subsequent poet is our poetic voice and expresses our aesthetic interests for the remainder of our biological lives.
I let my first poet die after a half-century of existence. The creature you’re reading is nothing more than a poetic ghost. The first poet no longer feels, touches, smells, hears, sees, or tastes this world. I let him die and he chose to die. The first poet’s death arrived with Réquiem and is possibly survived –emphasis on possibly– by his first two books of poetry: Poemas Caribeños & Caribbean Poet, as well as a work of fiction titled a future of dreams. Posthumously, the first poet will reveal his novel story of a beautiful haunting.
Réquiem originally had many, many more pages than you currently hold, but many poems suffered the same fate as the first poet. What you have now will have to be enough. And, whether a second poet will come to life is still on the balance. Will this second poet be bilingual? Will the second poet choose to be born at all given what happened to the first? So many questions…
At this poetic juncture, the “writing on the wall” comes to mind, and I wonder whether it has any significance for my poetic rebirth: “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN. This is the interpretation of the matter: MENE, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; TEKEL, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting…” (Daniel 5:25-27, NRSV)
The first poet of Luis S. González-Acevedo