Colaterales=Collateral by Dinapiera Di Donato. NY: Akashic, 2013. IBSN: 9781617751912. Winner of the Paz Prize for Poetry.
Translation by Ricardo Alberto Maldonado.
Reviewed by Lourdes Vázquez
The residue. What was left after the battle with the body, with the soul. All seasoned with an intimate knowledge of the distant. With good reason these poems are surrounded with medieval walls and dunes, where we are hanging “on the greenest branches” while listening to the diverse voices of old Spain, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. All embedded in our great poetic tradition. The narrator is a light sleep erudite, with so much knowledge that she is willing to share with us the secrets of Medieval Castillian voices as well as Jewish and Moorish Spain. This philosopher breathes history and transforms it into poetry without mirrors or tricks, with the tranquility of the water that floats "back and recedes in time". We are just sitting on a flying carpet seduced by the charm of the stories and fairy tales, while Scheherazade is enlisting our curls to your hair "oh black girl", “Desiccated wound”; without noticing that Angelico, the blessed, is waiting in the shadows to scalp the threadlike strands. For a second it came to my mind William Carlos Williams when it binds a thread among the pregnant women of his practice in the poem “Woman”, "Oh Black Persian Cat..." We are also skillfully inserted as speakers in paintings, scrolls, and pictures as “a glorious lion” dancing the dance of don't ever forget me, without sentimentalism or offenses. Close by are those less fortunate locked up in tidy monasteries describing pieces of the sick body "I would give you my third eye / my kidneys ill filter you out" or writing about ill spirits, seduced soldiers, letters of love in ruins, which is what causes you to feel when you are facing this deep beautiful poetry.