The 44th of July

Omnidawn. Apr. 2019. 88p. ISBN 9781632430649. pap. $17.95. POETRY
OrangeReviewStarAuthor most recently of Phantom Camera, winner of the Green Rose Prize in Poetry, Bolina writes socially aware poems mixing aesthetics with politics in emotionally charged language. It is poetry of bridging, connecting, and seeing to retain clarity and evoke awakening. The poet often blends surrealism with dark humor and comic scenery: "You do the murder quick like it's a bright idea/ like the cosmos is split into a faction of gods/ and a faction of meet." Today's ethical chaos demands the salvific scope of poetry as a means of vividly grasping life, and Bolina delivers with a poetry of engagement that highlights its role in enunciating dynamic truths: "You can cleanse the ethnics/ expel every interloper, and cordon the border, but you can't/ scrub the city." Thus, the poet aims not so much to influence public opinion as to stitch back together shards of a torn dialog and bring it depth. The imagery comes bursting forth studded with sharp details about a wide range of subjects, from alienation to poverty to social protest.
VERDICT These attentive and subtle poems engage language expressively to address pressing realities, brilliantly demonstrating that poetry is action. Recommended for all poetry readers.
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