There Are Angels Walking The Fields by Marlon Hacla translated by Kristine Ong Muslim (Broken Sleep Books)

Tears in the Fence

Let’s get the negative out of the way first: Tilde Acuña’s calligraphic and hand-drawn ‘Introduction’ is physically unreadable here, despite looking wonderful. It’s a shame, because Broken Sleep books have got better and better designed since the press started, because I’m sure she had something useful to say, and because this is a marvellous book.

Kristine Ong Muslim’s useful ‘Translator’s Note’ explains that this collection was originally published in the Philippines in 2010, and frames the book as a gathering of ekphrastic poems which ‘”manifest” real or imagined artworks through various poetic devices’. It’s not the kind of ekphrasis that the reader – or English readers – will recognise, as few sources or artists are mentioned. Instead we get intense and often disturbing snapshots along with captured moments, most often set in stark, desolate or abandoned settings and populated by nameless characters and personified objects.

The language is often voluptuous…

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