These poems are from claus e o alacrán (claus and the scorpion) by the Galician poet Lara Dopazo Ruibal. This poetry collection won the 2017 Fiz Vergara Vilariño Award, one of the most prestigious poetry competitions in the Galician language. In 2018 it was published by Espiral Maior publishing house. It is a book that talks about the complexities of living in this world and the dynamics that are generated because and in spite of it. The book describes a world full of violence and pain — a world that demands learning to navigate the helplessness and precariousness. Dopazo Ruibal’s book raises the questions of who do we become and how do we contend with violence and pain? And how do we draw strength from vulnerability?
These poems are real. They speak of an aftermath of something horrible, and that aftermath is actually ongoing horror, it is the everyday struggle that the speaker goes through — the struggle that the readers go through every day. Dopazo Ruibal’s poems portray a rawness and vulnerability that mirror our own, and that is what makes them hard, that is what makes them true. An added mirroring is that between what happens outside and within the self. There is no defined clear boundary. Amidst all the violence and destruction is the added difficulty the speaker has of forging their identity.
In all this pain and violence and loss and questions, what gives us hope is Dopazo Ruibal’s poetry itself. It returns our humanity back to the world and to us.
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