Fly on the Wall is delighted to publish a chapbook of poems by Lucía Orellana-Damacela today, and I’m here as your friendly neighbourhood publishing intern to give you a sneak peak of what’s inside.
Lucía is a well-respected poet – you are in capable and confident hands. The author of a poetry book and two chapbooks, one of which won The Bitchin’ Kitsch Chapbook Competition in 2018, Lucía has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and had poetry, prose and translations appear in more than twelve countries in both English and Spanish. Some of the publications where her work has been featured include: Tin House Online, Carve Magazine, The Bitter Oleander, Into the Void, Orbis, Eye Flash Poetry, Ink Sweat & Tears and The Acentos Review. And if that isn't enough, Lucía also holds a PhD in Social Psychology from Loyola University Chicago.
Inherent is full of beautiful poems: emotive, sensorial, unforgettable, full of love. The first thing you might notice about the collection is how evocative it is, creating a poetic Ecuador that seems palpable, within reach. It has Spanish words scattered throughout, and yet these words never disrupted my understanding (as a non-Spanish speaker) but rather introduced me to a culture and country I was eager to learn more about. Lucía has an incredible power to evoke the sights, smells and sounds of a Latin American childhood, engaging all the senses and building the world around us as we read. Lucía’s poetry truly has the power to transport us, transcending cultural and geographical boundaries.
Here for example, is a snapshot of a moment one summer, rendered so efficiently and imaginatively:
going through a narrow passage, struggling
to keep the canoe off the bank, we grab
mangoes from laden trees dangling over
the river – flavoured suns in our hands – eat
them taking no prisoners, fling the naked pits
in the water, make them perform for us, dance
in mid-air before splashing. These slippery,
furry, fake golden coins, skipping once, two,
three times; we fill their hollow skins with
water and squeeze them hard; watch their
amber juice flow back into the river, liquid
sunset. Light receding behind us, we paddle
upstream, fast, as pits and skins drift away,
flimsy marks of our last day of summer.
Inherent is also about women; the female lineages that have made the poet who she is, how these memories of strong women in the poet’s life resurface at times of change, infusing the present.
Fancy another peek inside? Here is the poet remembering her grandmother’s cooking:
Sunday stretches like a cat.
At noon, seasoning time.
Simmering recipes conjure up
drift and escape through open windows;
invisible trail brings back
the bikes and the kids
who don’t know
these smells come
really from Abuela’s kitchen.
Yearnings for home,
Later in the woods
when the sun is low and amber,
dressed in copper, the trunks of trees
escort our walk, drenched in
that goodbye sort of light.
Above all, this collection explores familial love – love passed down through the generations, suggesting that this is the most important inheritance we can receive. The poems feel like an antidote to the worry and confusion of our world at the moment and left me feeling positive about the future. Our connections with our families, with other people, transcend all that separate us. This is 'inherent', but sometimes needs to be said. Lucía has said it for us.
Inherent launches today, but you can buy it now from the Fly on the Wall shop. I recommend that you do!