Valentina Cano writes with a sense of urgency; a driving need to exorcise her own demons while giving rich, imaginative descriptions of depression and anxiety. Her chapbook EVENT HORIZON opens with DESPAIR, a misnomer that readers should not be shaken by. The images she invokes in describing her own battles are rife with authenticity and her voice is the lyrical staccato of a writer open their head and pouring its contents onto blank pages.
I imagine her poems as confessions, told late at night, wrapped in a lover’s arms or draped in shadows that she exposes and drags into the light to unapologetically stare at.
Think, I tell myself,
the word scraping my brain
like a zester.
There’s a way out of this
Labyrinth (puzzle, trap, crossword)
But it’s all corners and angles,
Not even corridors to follow.
There’s no space to squeeze myself through,
or combination of numbers, of words,
Think, I tell myself.
Unwrap your brain from the shroud
It’s been living in.
Valentina’s background as a student of classical singing shines through in her work as her lines flow and follow the rise and fall of a breathing, operatic singer. Her confessions of powerlessness and loss/lack of control are given the beat and timbre of a voice stronger than one might imagine.
I’m going to lay this down until tomorrow.
I’ll turn my head from this catastrophe
a second before it happens
and ignore the narrator’s tick-tock of a voice.
I’ll follow myself down to the
Darkest part of the woods,
curl up and breathe.
The mythologized Eurydice of her poem EURYDICE IN THE MORNING can be seen as running towards an impossible escape. Fruitless and desperate is her cause, but necessary is the battle and struggle. Mythology and the fantastic appear again in OUROBOROS (published in Everest Spring 2013, http://everest-magazine.com/spring2013.html#page/11)
The image of the circular snake gnawing and swallowing itself is echoed in the closing lines:
“I’ll just keep ripping and ripping.
Endless loops of nothing.”
Her voice is quiet and strong, resigned and unapologetically her own.
Cano proves herself a writer worth her applause, and staff here at Everest is eager to read her new venture into long pieces with her debut novel, due out in June. For now, you can find her in The Brooklyn Quarterly: http://brooklynquarterly.org/seasonal/, as well as her own blog: http://carabosseslibrary.blogspot.com
For more on Valentina you can read the interview here: http://everestonline.tumblr.com/post/77524645113/recently-i-spoke-with-everest-contributor or you can read her in issues of Everest Magazine.
Thanks Valentina, we hope to see more from you soon!