Pisco Sours: By Ananda Esteva, 73 pgs. By Kurt

Ananda Esteva’s pocketbook of poetry kept reminding me of a former co-worker I had. Like Ananda, Ricardo was from Chile and thus had many tales that came from the South American country. He was also fluent in Spanish. I can see some similarities in Ananda’s writing and Ricardo’s stories. The similarities, while great, end there. Ricardo was also Jewish and a member of the Church of Satan and while I don’t know whether those apply to Ananda, she doesn’t mention it in any of her poetry. No, her focus is on the relationship between who she is as a woman today in America and that part of her that is Chilean. The poems contain a mix of English and Spanish, with some of the titles being in Spanish and the occasional Spanish words and phrases inserted into the poems. None of this should deter the non-Spanish speaker, as it’s usually translated or easy to guess what she is saying. There are tales of her return to Chile with her non-Spanish speaking uncle to bury her aunt’s ashes. She writes of the “other” September 11th, 1973, when Augusto Pinochet overthrew the democratically elected Salvador Allende in Chile. The writing is full of passion and the energy that demands your attention—and gets it. It’s intelligent without being too academic, cultural without being alienating, and focused without wasting words on ego-stroking literary masturbation. There is also a sense of resiliency in the midst of her adversities. While not a female nor from Latin America, I still enjoyed this small book of poetry. I’m normally not one who really gets into a lot of poetry, yet the flow of this writing and the unpretentious attitude of the author made this both appealing and enlightening. –Kurt Morris (Civil Defense Poetry, c/o Ananda Esteva, PO Box 11812, Berkeley, CA 94712)