As a Registered Nurse, Belinda Subraman has worked in several difficult areas, but from 2001 to 2007 she was working as a hospice nurse. Hospice is the art of preparation, and when Belinda's own father reached his final days in 2008, she took what preparation she had and flew back to Carolina to assist him in his passage. No doubt she was more aware than most of us that no preparation is adequate.
Unlikely 2.0 is priviledged to present the resulting book of poetry, Blue Rooms, Black Holes, White Lights. It is not an easy book of poetry to read. It is easy enough to understand—though Belinda's extensive poetic education is clear, this is essentially plain-language poetry, written to be accessible by anyone. But Belinda's brutal analysis of her grief brings the reader's own tragedies into sharp definition. The book mercilessly explores the author's most painful memories, and aspires to share the most fundamental aspects of human experience with the reader. It is by turns discomfiting and comforting, in the way that great poetry is meant to be.
Blue Rooms, Black Holes, White Lights contains thirty poems by Belinda Subraman and five full-color images by César Ivan. Buy it now! Right. Now. For $10:
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What people are saying about Blue Rooms, Black Holes, White Lights:
I have been an enthusiastic fan of Belinda Subraman's work, and of her as a vibrant person, beautiful in all respects, for more decades than I care to calculate. The death of her father (and her vocation as a nurse) have occasioned these powerful meditations on mortality, our place in nature, and the wisdom of the Buddha. Reading them made me reflect, 'Maybe Belinda is the Buddha and doesn’t even know it.' Who else could write, 'Every daisy-headed/piece of the sun/every tree hair/blooming its brains out/knows more than a Buddhist.' That is a true poet bringing inspiration, originality, to a perennial subject. I read these poems with affection, admiration, and the satisfaction of having followed her career from its wonderfully girlish origins to this Siddharthian arrival.
—Gerald Locklin, author of Go West, Young Toad and Candy Bars
"Belinda Subraman has documented the journey of a child's attendance at a parent's death with steely lucidity surrounded by diaphanous spirit and intellect. Her detailed harvesting of physical surroundings captures the frenetic stillness of such vigils with singular power. This poet observes, accepts and transforms a unique human experience with a steady yet vulnerable presence—simultaneously united with and isolated from humanity by her exquisite sensitivity. She interprets aging and death with stark purity, aware of her sacred role in the universe."
—Mónica Gómez, host of "State of the Arts" on NPR-affiliate KTEP
"These poems, some transparently autobiographical, some dream-like, some metaphorical, are reactions to dying and death—to the poet's own father's dying and, indirectly, to her own and everyone else's. Belinda Subraman encounters fear, anguish, awe, acquiescence, and, even, hope when contemplating death, and she deals with these and other emotions honestly, never sentimentally. In the end, her acceptance of death is also an affirmation of the ongoing life force. This is an honest, evocative meditation on mortality by a poet who has played an important role in the Southwestern poetry scene for some time, and continues to."
—Joe Somoza, author of Cityzen and editor of Sin Fronteras
"I hate and love heartbreakers. They get us. Belinda Subraman's poems are honest in a dishonest world. She is victorious but I worry about how a great soul will survive without us admitting her talent, focus, and great determination. She defines the word celebration."
—Rane Arroyo, author of The Buried Sea and The Roswell Poems
"In this first-rate meditation on dying, death and new frontiers, Belinda Subraman embraces both what is 'gone' and what 'changes.' The beauty here resides in poems that calmly take us to the place where we not only 'grasp air' but also hear the 'rumors of angels.' Subraman's primer is spot on for the trip we all must take, and for folks new to her work, it's an excellent introduction to a poet working in her prime."
—Lawrence Welsh, author of Skull Highway and Believing in Bonfires
"Subraman draws on parental death, her work as a nurse with hostel and Buddhist study to create poetry that is at once a comfort and an unblinking gaze into the abyss, teaching us to '...hear/on the edge of silence/the ordered hum/and the chaotic howl/of the universe.' 'A thousand calls of night paint the mood,' as she leads us gently from the 'physical kindergarten of soul/trapped in our senses' through the aging process 'until all we have is/a radiant, rich torture' where '[e]ndings roll over each other and tangle.' Subraman's universe of death and dying is festooned with the realities of swamp coolers, chocolate, coloring books, gin bottles, spanish moss, and humming birds. Her simple use of language, her 'thin caskets of words and sound,' creates for each reader as we each confront the mortality of ourselves and others 'the warm blanket of knowledge' and lovingly takes our hands to face the inevitable, 'the freezing cold of fear.'"
—Donna Snyder, curator of The Tumblewords Project
While living in Germany in the 1980s Belinda began Gypsy Literary Magazine and Sanctuary Tape Series, which published writings and vocal performances of poets from many countries. Living on the US/Mexican border she ran Vergin' Press, publishing books such as the anthologies Voces Fronterizas and The Gulf War: Many Perspectives. In 2004 she resurrected The Gypsy Art Show on the Internet, featuring interviews with poets, authors, musicians, and activists. Her web site, BelindaSubraman.com, serves as a focal point for her recent work.
César Ivan is a multimedia artist whose work has been exhibited in the El Paso Art Museum and in solo and group shows in various venues in the Southwest, including public spaces in the museum district of downtown El Paso. His influences range from da Vinci to contemporary culture. His commercial art graces the entries of homeless shelters, cafés, and other businesses. Additionally, Ivan is a gifted multi-instrumentalist, whose musical career has ranged from rock 'n' roll to afro-Cuban to flamenco to original world music.
Excellent & intriguing
Saw you on facebook, I didn't know you have a book out, like me. I'll pick it up one of these days.