LatinaLista — Editor Francisco Aragon has successfully woven together a collection rich in tone, style, and depth of topics, ranging from the more immediate and observational to political and symbolic in The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry published by the University of Arizona Press.
Moving forward from the strong poetic predecessors of After Aztlan and Touching the Fire, The Wind Shifts presents voices speaking to today’s complex world through Latino eyes, but does not remain stifled by what may be considered “Latino” in regard to how these poets reveal their visions, experiences, and ideas.
Some poems do invoke Chicano themes, yet with a modern touch, neither heavy-handed nor too delicate.
John Olivares Espinoza’s Contemporary American Hunger descriptively retells a personal memory illuminating the co-opting of choice and creation of desire through corporate media manipulation.
Sheryl Luna’s Learning to Speak deals with how the Spanish language is tied to memory, identity, and at times the unsettling placement between those realms.
Border issues also surface poignantly in other selections, as with Eduardo C. Corral’s To a Mojado Who Dies Crossing the Desert.
Vivid events and memories initially personal become unquestionably communal through other poets’ voices in this anthology.
Lidia Torres’ Blackout relives the spontaneous collective spirit during the New York City blackout of August 2003. A grandmother’s kitchen and the claustrophobia of apartment living come alive again in our own minds via Venessa Maria Engel-Fuentes’ Glass Grapes and Unit 502.
Other poets such as Maria MelÃ©ndez, Kevin A. Gonzalez, and Francisco Aragon allude to classical mythology, reference famous figures, or cite familiar literary tools, such as the Oxford English Dictionary.
This strongly crafted collection is one that you can return to often for pleasure and contemplation.