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My Earthbound Eye Perfect Paperback – September 1, 2013
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In the remarkable sonnet sequence that opens this book, Alejandro Escudé recalls his childhood emigration from Córdoba, Argentina to Los Angeles, to a world where nothing belongs to him: his parents build and clean other people s houses and, at first, he can barely speak English. An immigrant s unsolvable question, he reveals, is Do I belong to this? this culture, this landscape, this new world. Most of these poems grapple with the question of belonging as the poet stands in and outside his various roles as son, husband, father, teacher, poet. The poems answer the immigrant s question both yes and no. On the one hand, their speakers are profoundly embedded in the communities of family, work, and art, while at the same time they mistrust even the closet interpersonal relationships: My life hasn t been lived for others. Even if he is loathe to admit it, the poet s ultimate allegiance is not to Argentina, America, or Spain, but to what the title of one poem calls The Country of Poetry. Despite the presence of parents, wife, and children in many of these poems, the book ends with our hero alone at a museum, communing with Picasso and Calder and thinking of Lorca in a stolen moment before the doors officially open. Afterwards he sits by himself at one of the café tables / and watch[es] the multitudes queue. You, too, will want to settle down at a café for the afternoon the first of many to pore over, imbibe, and enjoy Escudé s poems with their magnificently unsolvable questions. --Eric Gudas
Alejandro Escudé s My Earthbound Eye stares into the eye of the everyday world, the world where we all live the world of work, love, marriage, fatherhood, of memory and loss and does not blink. From the initial sequence The immigrant s Question , detailing his family s journey from Argentina to Los Angeles, to the poems that fearlessly shine a light on the many trepidations and struggles of family life, he is always searching, asking questions, trying to wring some kind of truth from the mystery of it all. What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a father, a husband, a son? What is this world we live in? What does it mean to just BE? But there is no transcendental yearning going on here, he is asking his questions from what is right there in front of him: The death of a neighbour; a conversation overheard in a market; standing in front of a class of teenagers, asked to define solitude ; both kids crying at 2am... Funny, angry, dark, these grounded poems show that what we do, how we struggle, day after day, is poetry - if we can only see with Escudé s earthbound eye . --Christien Gholson
About the Author
Alejandro Escudé is a high school English teacher in Los Angeles and a graduate from the MA creative writing program at U.C. Davis. Before graduating from U.C. Davis, he won the 2003 University of California Poet Laureate contest. Originally from Córdoba, Argentina, he has translated books by Sandra McPherson and Victor Manuel Mendiola.