A major new work from one of America’s most acclaimed younger poets, Rafael Campo’s Diva
appears at the intersection of confession and confinement, hyperbole and humility. In his masterful third collection, Campo explores further the epic themes of his Cuban heritage and America’s newness, his work as a doctor caring for AIDS patients and his identity as a gay man.
At once relishing and resisting the poetic traditions of formal English verse, Diva
showcases Campo moving deftly between received forms and free verse. In each poem the sound of words is transformed into the highest of arts, the act of performance into the exercise of power, and the most profound abjection into the sweet promise of divinity. Culminating with his new and daring translations of Federico García Lorca’s sonetos
—the great Spanish poet’s most homoerotically explicit and formally accomplished poems—Campo’s music instills in the reader an exalted understanding of beauty, suffering, and, ultimately, the human capacity for empathy.
From reviews of Campo’s previous poetry:
“Extraordinary meditations on illness and the healing power of words.”—Lambda Literary Foundation
“Read Campo to enter the bloodstream of a man who, with a haunting clarity of vision, shares his memories, his anguish, his healing love.”—Cortney Davis, Literature and Medicine
“Riveting, provocative, and refreshing—[this volume] is a gift to the clinician who is trying to re-invoke in his or her students the humility, compassion, and deep caring that brought us all into medicine in the first place.”—Dr. Sandra L. Bertman, Annals of Internal Medicine
“[Campo] listens to the sounds the body makes, but what he hears is poetry.”—Zoë Ingalls, Chronicle of Higher Education
“Powerful and accessible.”—Jonathan Jackson, Washington Blade
“Bemused, indelible, and heartbreaking.”—Marilyn Hacker, Out
“[Campo’s] private corral of disparate words twist, torque, collide with gorgeous creative imperative.”—Nomi Eve, Independent Weekly