Mary Martin Booksellers
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Back Book Title Aria And Trumpet Flourish

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Aria And Trumpet Flourish
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- Dela Pena, Rodrigo Jr.
- Singapore
- Math Paper Press (BooksActually), Singapore
- 9789811146923
- 2018
- 80p.
- 122 gms.
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In a world inundated by all kinds of texts that can be scanned almost as soon as they’re produced, and that as quickly shimmer away into oblivion, I am overjoyed to sit and read Rodrigo Dela Pena, Jr.’s much anticipated first full-length collection Aria and Trumpet Flourish. Even while observing the necessary ceremonies that we must accord our living, the poet never forgets “time’s swift tumble,” the “tar-spackled road” or its “hairline cracks.” Unlike the ostentatious noise made by certain kinds of musical and other fanfare, the voice in these poems sings always out of a sense of urgency underwritten by love. In this collection marked by masterful clarity and dexterous handling of forms (including ghazals, villanelles, abecedarians, and epistolaries), we glimpse monks walking the roads, crowds in the hellish circle of an MRT station at the end of the day, and the ghost of Jose Rizal in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The poet recalls boyhood breakfasts fortified with bile and innards; and, for all his wandering, turns again and again to little towns and dusty barrios with homely names where a jukebox plays in a noodle shop called Tres Hermanas. He promises us: “This is my devotion: to account for the world’s bounty, its finite grace.// To exalt the flourishing it contains, to ache for what is taken away” (from “Compline”). These are poems I will want to accompany me through the ordinary and other emergencies of everyday life; through the rest of the year, and beyond. In them, I might hope to learn more about the chrysalis’ secret—how, from its gold wreck of discarded laments, a dying self might help to birth a new one.

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