Loretta Collins Klobah

marlene lopez

Loretta Collins Klobah lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she is a professor of Caribbean Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Puerto Rico. Her first collection, The Twelve-Foot Neon Woman, was published to critical acclaim in 2011. She earned an MFA in poetry writing from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. She was featured in the anthology New Caribbean Poetry, and her work has been published in The New Yorker, the 1996 Pushcart Prize AnthologyTriQuarterly New Writers, and How Much Earth? Ricantations (Peepal Tree Press) will reinforce the perception of Collins Klobah as superb poetic storyteller with a compassionate and radical womanist vision, alert to the multi-layered reality of Puerto Rican life, where shiny modernity gives way to spirit presences. There are absorbingly reflective poems on Juan Carreño de Miranda’s paintings of an hyperphagic child, a stray horse that hangs around the poet’s property, homunculi in glass bottles in a teaching hospital, the keeper of a butterfly farm, a high-wire circus family, and the irony of Nathan Leopold becoming the expert on Puerto Rican bird life. Poems begin from the most fantastic premises—a Che Guevera club in heaven with prizes for the coolest Che impersonator—then line by line open up her island’s secret heart, revealing a society under multiple pressures even before Hurricane Maria, about which the title poem offers a brilliantly hallucinatory picture.