Friday, October 12, 2007
BLOOD SOAKED DRESSES BY GLORIA MINDOCK
Published by Ibbetson Street Press
Now available for ordering at:
This poetry book is about the atrocities committed in El Salvador during the civil war from 1980-1992. It is based on my talks with El Salvadoran refugees in the 1980's and years of research.
In San Miguel, many people are being exterminated and the atrocities continue to this day.
I hope you will order this book. The people of El Salvador should not be forgotten. I hope to carry this message on behalf of Rufina Amaya, the only survivor of the massacre at El Mozote, who died of a stroke in March of this year.
In her fascinating poem cycle, Gloria Mindock jolts back into memory the roots of El Salvador's present day violence. Mindock coaxes to the page the voices of the dead who lie, less in peace, than in restless obsession with the atrocities they suffered. She brings forth as well the voices of the living who seem startled to find that they died somewhere between the horrors they witnessed and the grave they have yet to lie down in. Blood Soaked Dresses is a beautiful, harrowing first book.
We are reminded of Cezar Vallejo's witnesses: bones, solitude, rain, and the roads -- that we are tied to each other in beauty and suffering, life and death. Gloria Mindock's poems grant us the voice of a soul caught on a limb between the promise of peace everlasting and impossible resurrections. Poem after poem we are asked to uncover those whose bitter ash weeps over the world, and no other country/wants to see it. This book is written from a compassionate heart that whispers and grieves, one that isn't afraid to hold its gaze.
A poet must never shy from the necessary, no matter how hard it is. In poetry that is both elegant and brutal, Gloria Mindock exposes the horror of the Salvadorian conflict especially on women. Though Salvador has faded from the front pages, the war has reincarnated in other countries on other continents making "Blood Soaked Dresses" completely contemporaneous. This poetry possesses, as Yeats said, "a terrible beauty." And we need it now more than ever.
The reader of Blood Soaked Dresses is enriched by Mindock's power and commitment. She has earned a place among our great protest poets, reminding us, with lyric tension, that social justice is our constant and necessary concern.