More Featured, Poetry Books, Visual Poetry Series The Cipher
More Featured, Poetry Books, Visual Poetry Series The Olive Trees' Jazz and Other Poems
In Geographic Tongue, an important addition to the Pleiades Press Visual Poetry Series, Rodney Gomez weaves together themes of loss, identity, ethnicity, heritage, and the mechanics of contemporary life to create a collection as lyrically arresting as it is aesthetically stunning. These visual poems, crafted with both restraint and vitality, are visceral in their depiction of cruelty and grief at the US–Mexico border. And yet, this charged landscape also gives rise to moments of tenderness, stillness, and wry humor. Gomez’s visual design is at once vivid and haunting, drawing together collage, diagrams and abstract imagery into a bright, geometrically precise collection. His text casts such a powerful spell that in its absence, silence is heard as clearly as any phrase. Gomez writes, “you don’t have to speak to speak truth,” and this lucid assertion is borne out in the collection as a whole: in its art, and in its silence, the poems of Geographic Tongue are undeniably and indelibly authentic.
Praise for Geographic Tongue:
“A radical work of compassion, Geographic Tongue, baroque, visually stunning, lyrically gorgeous, is a profound exploration of the sacred geometry underlying our malleable forms, their chameleon manifestations, and the inevitable decay of this flesh, revealing how these borders shape our concepts of autonomy, community, and, at last, our most human of divinities.”
—J. Michael Martinez
“Rodney Gomez dissects his poems—each phrase deforms into image & word—like a cell dividing into multiples and creating new life. These fragments become a solid block, like a new identity throughout his book. Geographic Tongue is a poetic anatomy experiment: ‘…leave the bottom free, since melting entirely into something new requires a little of the old you.'”
“Like sigils bathed in amplified light, Rodney Gomez’s poems are charged with a vivid eeriness. The poet’s carefully composed patterns allude to literatures Norton hasn’t hallowed and estrange conventions in documentation/documentary. Through Geographic Tongue, Gomez shows us: verbal language alone is not enough to chronicle centuries of humans’ struggle with transformation. Forget history written with lightning; Rodney Gomez writes history with lasers and magic.”