Mis placeres (My Pleasures)

Natividad De Jesús De Jesús

Publisher: Palibrio Pages: 126 Price: (paperback) $11.95 ISBN: 9781463372651 Reviewed: August, 2014 Author Website: Visit »

This collection of nearly 80 poems is divided into three sections: “Like an Illusion,” offers poems dedicated to the author’s family; “With a Melody,” focuses on romantic love and everyday life; and “My North and My Support” is devoted to Christianity.

Stylistically, all three sections are similar. The author has a fairly good ear for meter and rhythm, though the rhymes and imagery can sometimes come across as simplistic and predictable (“fuerte como un árbol/ardiente como el sol”; “strong like a tree”/”burning like the sun”.

In terms of the subject matter, the author’s first section on family seems a little too personal to engage a wider audience. More successful and inventive is the second section, in which the author delves into the past to reflect on a lost love and paints engaging portraits of everyday life. The appeal of this section also comes from the more lyrical quality of the work. Each poem is prefaced by the type of music it should be set to – guarachas, boleros, salsas – and the author’s use of local Puerto Rican slang and dialect in this section lends these poems the quality of folk music.

The third section continues the musical theme, this time focusing on the author’s joyful relationship with Christianity. The author states that these poems have been sung in her church, and this seems appropriate; her straightforward retellings of Bible stories and simple odes to Jesus’s love would not be out of place in a children’s hymnbook.

While the author has managed to present a well-executed book, this is by no means a revolutionary or inventive collection of poetry, with lines that sometimes feel straight out of a Hallmark card. However, it could serve as an accessible poetry collection for those who are interested in getting a flavor of Puerto Rican life and language, or anyone wishing to introduce Christian concepts to children.

Also available in hardcover and ebook

Author's Current Residence
Dorado, Puerto Rico
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