Cruz continues to flesh out her own portrait in a series of poems and poem cycles recalling her kinship with writers and poets of yesteryear, in sharp conservative lines Cruz paints their woes in life and death. These moving poems invoke stellar, yet haunting images of Duras, Lispector, and Bachmann, among others, as she takes a page from Dante, writing herself into their "parade of wrong voices". — Alex Bell
In Guidebooks for the Dead, Cynthia Cruz returns to a familiar literary landscape in which a cast of extraordinary women struggle to create amidst violence, addiction and poverty. For Marguerite Duras, evoked here in a collage of poems, the process of renaming herself is a “Quiet death,” a renewal she envisions as vital to her evolution. In “Duras (The Flock),” she is “high priestess” to an imagined assemblage of women writers for whom the word is sustenance and weapon, “tiny pills or bullets, each one packed with memory, packed with a multitude of meaning.” Joining them is the book’s speaker, an “I” who steps forward to declare her rightful place among “these ladies with smeared lipstick and torn hosiery. . . this parade of wrong voices.” Guidebooks for the Dead is both homage to these women and a manifesto for how to survive in a world that seeks to silence those who resist.
About the Author
Cynthia Cruz is the author of five previous collections of poetry, including four with Four Way Books: The Glimmering Room (2012), Wunderkammer (2014), How the End Begins (2016), and Dregs (2018). Cruz has received various fellowships and has an MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College, an MFA in Art Criticism & Writing from the School of Visual Arts, and an MA in German Studies from Rutgers University. The author of a collection of essays, Disquieting: Essays on Silence (2019), Cruz is the editor of the anthology, Other Musics: New Latina Poetry (2019). She is currently working on a collection of translations of the Austrian poet Georg Trakl with the Swiss poet and translator Daniele Pantano. She teaches at Columbia University and Sarah Lawrence College.