Today dear readers I am reviewing Inherent (November 13th 2020) By Lucía Orellana Damacela. A big thank you to the publishers Fly On The Wall Press for sending me a copy to review, always appreciated.
A chapbook traversing emotional and natural landscapes, Inherent is a vivid exploration of female lineage and what it means to belong. Reflecting upon her childhood in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Lucía Orellana-Damacela contemplates how distant memories resurface at moments of life transition, and how the past is an intrinsic part of the present. Infused with the totality of nature and familial love, the poetry of this collection considers the pervasive nature of memory and who or what we are defined by.
About The Author
Lucía Orellana-Damacela is the author of the poetry book Sea of Rocks (Unsolicited Press, 2018), and the chapbooks Longevity River (Plan B Press, 2019) and Life Lines, which won The Bitchin’ Kitsch Chapbook Competition (2018). Lucía’s work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize; her poetry, prose and translations have appeared in more than twelve countries in both English and Spanish. Some of the venues in which her work has been or will be published are Tin House Online, Carve Magazine, The Bitter Oleander, Into the Void, Orbis, Fly on the Wall, Eye Flash Poetry, Ink Sweat & Tears, and The Acentos Review. Lucía holds a PhD in Social Psychology from Loyola University Chicago.
Orellana-Damacela takes the reader down memory lane as she shares with them moments of her childhood growing up in Guayaquil, Ecuador. These poems are personal and at times I felt as though I was flipping through a family album, witnessing moments of Orellana-Damacela’s life. Snapshots that I could feel, taste and hear within the warmth of her poems.
My favourite poem in this collection is Mango River. I could taste the sweet juices running down my chin as I greedily bit into the ripe mangos. The imagery was divine and I immersed myself fully into the scene, watching the seeds dance and float down the river. I wanted to be there and enjoy the summer’s sun while trickling my hand in the water.
I felt a tug at my heart when I read Embroidered past. Orellana-Damacela misses a family member and seeing them at their finca. The reminder of how they would say that a woman is not a woman if she can’t make cheese, something Orellana-Damacela admits to still not knowing but will find out. Their speech has become harder to understand and everything is now different. At some point in all of our lives we will all watch loved ones slowly age, it’s the way of life unfortunately. Orellana-Damacela has captured this pain and heartache beautifully with the swift honest truth that everyone eventually dies. Yet the memories and heirlooms of the past will forever remind us of them and will never fade.
As well as old life and past memories, Orellana-Damacela’s poetry also focuses on new life. When I read Drenched I could strongly relate to the happiness that fills you when you give brith to a child. Everything becomes perfect and hopeful in that rare moment. A mixture of emotions and a belief that anything is possible. It is truly magical and Orellana-Damacela captures it perfectly.
When I read Something Borrowed it reminded me how family can inherit all sorts of features and traits. Aside from the material process of inheriting possessions after a family member’s death to be passed on from generation to generation. We can also inherit an uncle’s nose, or aunt’s eyes. In this poem Orellana-Damacela writes how her daughter has inherited her mother’s eyebrows after thinking she had herself. She comes to the conclusion that she never did and is just passing them on. It is interesting to read and made me wonder how many of us inherit something similar to previous generations.
I give Inherent By Lucía Orellana Damacela a Four out of Five paw rating.
These poems are bursting with colour, texture, life that dances wildly on the page. They will make you smile, reminisce about your own childhood and cry at the loss of passed loved ones. Family and what we inherit run free throughout these poems. A truly remarkable experience I encourage you all to take.
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