As If the Empty Chair: Poems for the Disappeared
Margaret Randall. Leandro Katz & Diego Guerra, trans. San Antonio: Wings Press, 2011.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
by: Reviewed by Judith Falzon

Section: Adult Book Reviews

Reviewed by Judith Falzon, St. Joseph County Public Library, South Bend, IN

In the 70's and 80's thousands of Latin Americans were abducted, tortured,
and killed under brutal regimes. These poems capture the longing, rage, and sorrow of loved ones left behind in a kaleidoscope of grief without closure. ("Without them/we cannot move on,/for where will they find us /when they stumble home?") Randall's verse is filled with raw imagery ("a lonely word.../lurching forward on raw stumps/before collapsing/in a heap of fading questions."). Interplay of text and space on each page reinforces the juxtaposition of time before the loved one’s disappearance and the crushing void afterwards.
The book has a memorial feel to it, with handsewn binding, thick
pages, and moving black and white photographs.  Randall has received many awards for her writings, photography, and activism.  In English with Spanish translation.

Recommended for academic libraries and book stores with Latin American, political science or small press emphasis

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