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Desire January 31, 2008

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Books, Poetry.

(A collection of poems) by Alma Luz Villanueva

Like many of my “favorite things” I’ve discovered in my life, I found this book by accident, purely on instinct. I’m drawn to the word Desire, and in that small bookstore on that particular Sunday, it was the book that found its way into my hands, and later, my heart.

Alma Luz Villanueva is a celebrated Chicana writer and poet. Racial niche aside, the appeal of Villanueva’s writing is that it transcends race, gender, perhaps even time. It rushes into emotion and even deeper into the most primal of human conditions and subjects: Lust, sex, birth, pain, ritual, death. Her references to nature are a grounding point, reminding us all (often through her references to motherhood) that we are a part of something much bigger than our individual selves. Her way with words is nothing short of riveting. She is brazen, forthright, and cuts boldly into what matters most in life, and manages to make it beautiful.

Villanueva uses pretty language, but she doesn’t shy away from grit. Dirty imagery of life’s more unpleasant facets only make her poems more real. She crosses from personal to political, to back again, including a poem she sent to President Clinton (circa 1994). There is a series of poems to her bird, Mango, but they are not about a bird or for a bird; rather they are about life, and the universe told to Mango; her singing, inspiring companion. Powerful and feminine, Villanueva’s writer’s voice begs to be heard. Desire is less of a collection of works as it is a love letter to the world, one that is definitely worth holding onto.

It would be unfair to sing Villanueva’s praises without exemplifying at least a taste of her beautiful work. If I had to choose a favorite, this one resonated with me the highest.

The Lover.

What is the difference
between sexuality and sensuality,

we discuss oh so
calmly…I spin

on the words
sexuality sensuality

as though they were
worlds, civilizations

I’ve been studying:
“Sexuality is located in

the genitals,” I say…
“an energy that keeps

us hungry, hunting,
stalking. Sexuality seizes,

tames, conquers, gloats
and howls with victory,

and we are all proof of this
momentary victory, the trophy.”

I pause
and continue:

“Sensuality. Rose petals, thick
grass, deep water, fragrant neck,

newborn-in-the arms, suckling
milk and light, lover’s lips, tender

tongues, frying onions, luscious
sauce simmering, to be poured over

meat slid from bone,
done, perfect, surrendered,

cooked, for, your, pleasure,
the perpetual sound of the sea,

aching, longing, roaring, singing,
singing, roaring, longing, aching,

the never ever ending
delight, no trophies,

delight, no proof;
I give my children back

to their lives, their senses,
their most private and secret

dreams, where we conquer worlds
and then wisely relinquish them

in order to praise the Lover

worlds without ever
ending,” I murmur

as I watch summer strobing
and oh so slowly

enter the irresistible coolness
on the 26th of June.



1. Sophie - January 31, 2008

that poem is incredible. the words she has chosen are perfect, thanks for the recommendation.
Loving these more regular updates, keep it up!

2. Alma Luz Villanueva - February 15, 2008

Once in a while I ‘google’ myself to see what’s new and came across your site, finding my book, DESIRE…I’m so glad my poetry speaks to you…my web site, if you’re interested: http://www.almaluzvillanueva.com Also, for a treat… http://www.myspacetv.com …enter my name and a marvelous short video of the marvelous Bjork reciting an excerpt of my poem, The Object’ (in my book PLANET)… This site/blog is very exciting and well done, fun to look around…chispas (sparks, inspiration)- Almaluz

3. Alma Luz Villanueva - February 15, 2008

P.S….One error in the whole poem, 2nd to last stanza: “as I watch summer disrobing/and oh so slowly…” When I first read ‘strobing’ I kind of liked it, as in a kind of light fluctuation, but it’s ‘disrobing’… more chispas- Almaluz

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