Received my copy of Bent to the Earth in the mail today. It’s a wonderful book, and I am happy to know Floating Bridge published the title poem several years ago in the Pontoon anthology (it originally appeared in Poetry Northwest). The first section has poems arising from De Luna’s past as a migrant farm worker; the hard toil, the abuse at the hands of the INS, the deaths and exposure to chemicals: it’s all there. The other sections look at photography, a love relationship, the loss of a brother. And perhaps the most poignant poems in the book explore De Luna’s relationship with his father: the most touching being “My Father, Reading Neruda.” The “Bent to the Earth” of the title comes to represent not only the physical labor of migrant farm workers, but the way light bends to the earth, the way death and memory cause us to bend to the earth, as demonstrated in the final poem “Flowers for Your Grave,” where the narrator is bent to his brother's grave. Here’s a quote from “Windows Reflecting Other Windows:”
“Death is the mother of beauty
said Stevens, and he was right.
But there was more. Beauty is
the child of death: he has
her ears and mouth, her eyes.”
I never had the pleasure of meeting Blas Manuel De Luna when he was in Seattle getting his MFA at UW. But I have really enjoyed this book.