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“This is a book for those of us who know that love is political,” boldly states an accompanying quote on this zine, a collection of Martinez’s poems printed in her zine, Hermana, Resist between 2000-2007. And that’s the problem. Love isn’t political. Or at least it shouldn’t be. If love is political, that implies an ulterior motive, an agenda aside from an appreciation for or devotion to another human being as an end in her or himself. That questionable attitude comes through in the work: many of the pieces here are the kind of poems that seem to take delight in their own bitter banality. Martinez goes on about repression and oppression, resistance and revolution, and “this fucked up society,” but it just ends up sounding like some student’s scribbled lecture notes from first-year political science class rather than giving us any meaningful insight into the poet’s real issues or anything else. Granted, not every single poem in this collection is like that, but the ones that are more personal are still, mostly, rhythmically unsatisfying. Admittedly, some of the poems are partly in Spanish and so I couldn’t understand them — there could be something really good there. I have no doubt that Martinez did accomplish what she set out to with these poems; maybe they’re intended not to compel, indeed, to alienate, people like me. If so, mission accomplished. The cover art is extremely engaging, though. (Richard Rosenbaum)

poetry zine, Noemi Martinez, $5 US, P.O. Box 621, Edinburg, TX, 89540 USA

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