Here Lies Lalo: The Collected Poems of Abelardo Delgado
Jarica Linn Watts, Editor. Houston: Arte Publico Press, 2011. 194 pp. $19.95. ISBN: 9781558856943.
Friday, December 16, 2011
by: Reviewed by Ghada Kanafani Elturk

Section: Adult Book Reviews

Fall/Winter 2011

Reviewed by Ghada Kanafani Elturk, Boulder Public Library, CO.

In Arturo Aldama’s forward to this collection of poems (1969-2001), Lalo’s trademark voice ya basta, huelga, ajuuuja and his knowing laugh are palpable. That’s how Lalo “celebrated his borderland identity.”  It is evident in Lalo’s body of work that he knew that he and thousands like him live on the borders (by necessity or by choice) and he dedicated his voice and lifetime to rejecting life on the fringes. He “to use[d] his words ‘as a platform to identify the hurt’” and inspired ‘“the vast movement for total change.”’ He claimed English as a second language because he knew “the ways in which language can be manipulated or redefined to deny individuals equal rights.”  Jarica Linn Watts says as much in her eleven-page-introduction presenting glimpses of his life and what inspired and informed his poetry. This valuable trilingual (English/Spanish/Spanglish) collection leads the reader to recognize Lalo’s mastery toying with language and turning the tables on oppressors:

... understanding a thing
and comprehending a thing are two different matters…
deal with us as you openly claim you can,
justly… with love… with dignity.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for public and academic libraries.


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