Com­pact dis­con­nec­tion

Pasatiempo - - In Other Words -

Martínez is dif­fer­ent from those po­ets who pre­fer to be left alone — the type who would forgo teach­ing ca­reers, read­ing tours, ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships, even their health — if it meant they would be able to spend the bulk of their days think­ing about noth­ing but words. She isn’t sat­is­fied un­less she is in­volved in as many projects as pos­si­ble.

Dur­ing her two-year stint as Santa Fe’s poet lau­re­ate, Martínez put on 63 pub­lic events and worked with 11 lo­cal fam­i­lies on the multi­gen­er­a­tional Lines and Cir­cles Project. As an as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor at the Col­lege of Santa Fe, she co­or­di­nated liv­ing-his­tory in­tern­ships with the Of­fice of the New Mex­ico State His­to­rian and was re­spon­si­ble for the an­nual PoemPalooza. She left CSF in 2009; she now teaches a class at the In­sti­tute of Amer­i­can In­dian Arts and one in the un­der­grad­u­ate hon­ors col­lege at The Uni­ver­sity of New Mex­ico. She also serves as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor and core artist for Lit­tle­globe, a Santa Fe-based non­profit that or­ga­nizes com­mu­nity art projects.

“I make a lot less money than I did at the col­lege, but I’m a lot hap­pier,” she said. “I was al­ready try­ing to make the tran­si­tion to part-time work and also work on these cre­ative projects, so now I’ve switched over to where the com­mu­nity work has be­come the cen­ter of my life, and I teach a class here and there so I can still be with stu­dents.”

Martínez won the Larry Le­vis Prize for her first book, Ab­sence, Lu­mi­nes­cent, and was a fi­nal­ist for the Greenrose Prize for her sec­ond book, World to World. Grow­ing up in Santa Fe gave her a sense of the pres­ence of the liv­ing and the dead. “My first two books tend to take place nav­i­gat­ing the vis­i­ble and in­vis­i­ble worlds,” she said. Though peo­ple found her first books chal­leng­ing, she said that her new book can be read by any­one, as long as they are will­ing to “let go of lin­ear­ity and a plot that un­folds eas­ily.”

Martínez pushes stylis­tic bound­aries in Each and Her to pen­e­trate the of­fi­cial si­lence around the mur­ders of women in Juárez. A re­cent up­surge in vi­o­lence against men in the area has over­shad­owed the nearly 20-year crime wave that has plagued the women who com­mute to work each day at the border city’s maquilado­ras. Frag­mented verse, facts and statis­tics, quotes from other writ­ers, and lists of the dead are lay­ered upon and con­nected to one an­other to com­bat the dis­con­nec­tion from hu­man­ity one needs to take a life as well as to make the un­solved mur­ders of so many women so ac­cept­able.

“Some­times I watch murder shows, de­tec­tive shows, and the more I watch, I won­der if it helps make it pos­si­ble to take an­other life,” she said. “We have to, in some ways, ob­jec­tify what it means to be a hu­man be­ing in or­der to kill. We see it all the time on tele­vi­sion, on the news, in the movies. The fac­tors that al­low this many mur­ders are wide and broad. They’re po­lit­i­cal, they’re so­cioe­co­nomic; they’re about this kind of psy­cho­log­i­cal dis­con­nec­tion.”

The book’s aes­thetic com­plex­ity is nec­es­sary to ef­fec­tively grap­ple with the sub­ject mat­ter, she said. Each and Her is not a book that is meant to be con­sumed, not a book to “get” in one read­ing. The pieces and frag­ments over­lap, as in the sec­tions about the cul­ti­va­tion of roses and the con­tain­ment of girls and women that also in­clude al­lu­sions to Our Lady

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.