In Painting Is Finite, Hugo García Manríquez traces the edge of elemental life via elemental form. First published in Spanish under the title, Los Materiales (Mexico City: Fonda Editorial Tierra Adentro, 2008), this volume presents Manríquez’s first English-language collection. In these poems, memory is a verb: it “behaves in both directions / the result that it casts / the present, that is, mobility” so that “nothing that preceded you / has prepared you for the experience / ‘the return of painting.’” In such a return, we confront the incommensurable as a material surface, likened here to the written: “history is the only matter excreted by / that which dies,” and thus “Newspapers seek volunteers for the shadow on the front page.” This poetry inhabits the edges as a vocation, urging us into relation with the materials.
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