Glow of Our Sweat: Poems by Francisco Aragón

by Sampsonia Way    /  September 17, 2010  / No comments

Francisco Aragón’s new collection of poems Glow of Our Sweat (Scapegoat Press) is characterized by a sense of quietude and interpretive space. This space allows the reader to experience Aragón’s personal memories in an intimate way through a connection of thought and imagination. Writer Michael Nava said reading Francisco Aragón’s poetry was like “taking a bite of a perfectly ripened apple—a fresh, sensual…experience.”

“Walt Whitman”—featured below—traces its roots back to Nicaraguan poet and essayist Rubén Darío. In the poem, Aragón pays tribute to Darío’s combinatorial style–a poetic conversation blending the syntax and word choice of two different worlds, nested inside classicist formal structures. Through careful structural and linguistic choices, Aragón creates expansive images with simple language. The author uses long, Whitmanesque lines to loosen Darío’s tight form. The poem effectively rests in the space between the three writers (Whitman, Darío, and Aragón), but preserves the souls of each, united in an inspired conversation.

Walt Whitman

His country of iron where he lives: an older man, fatherly,
…….strong, wholesome calm,….
his appearance impressive–the furrow of his brow
…….persuades and charms, no end

to his soul that mimics a mirror, the tired curve of
…….his shoulders draped with a cloak;
and with his harp–carved from oak–he sings his song
…….like a prophet. He’s a priest

fueling a wind that promises and promises…Fly!, he says
…….to an eagle, to a seaman: Row!
while a chiselled, robust worker hears: Put your shoulder
…….to the wheel!
This is the path

our poet takes
–magnificent

face

……………………….after Rubén Darío

Words in Space

standing on a chair
wearing nothing
but a shirt you begin

to recite Lucky’s
speeck aloud
punctuating

the night we’d
descended those
added winding

stairs six doors down
from the JJ Centre
minutes from your office…

the Finance Minister
had made his
speech earlier in

the day keeping
you and your
staff busy

summarizing
in a pamphlet
for clients

till around ten
after which we
met at Flanagan’s

for steak and beer
an hour or so
before your shirt

fell to the floor
before you
later put it

back on but I
prefer to dwell
on how

in the middle
of Lucky’s rant
you begin to twitch

and rise
so that I approach
and slip

you in again
while the words
the tears the stains

the years the stones
leave your lips
floating

down so blue so calm
each of them
beneath a little

translucent
parachute sweeping
into my ear

in that space
re-modeled Georgian
just off Parnell

“Walt Whitman” and “Words in Space” from Glow of Our Sweat by Francisco Aragón, copyright (c) 2010 by Francisco Aragón. Used by permission from Francisco Aragón.

Read Francisco’s bio here.

Read an exclusive interview with Francisco here.

CLICK HERE to buy a copy of Glow of Our Sweat.

About the Author

Sampsonia Way is an online magazine sponsored by City of Asylum/Pittsburgh that seeks to protect and advocate for writers who may be endangered, to educate the public about threats to writers and literary expression, and to create a community in which endangered writers thrive and literary culture is a valued part of life.

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