Lola Haskins has produced several books of poetry and I have recently picked one up after rummaging the poetry shelves of my local book-store. The book I have in hand is titled Extranjera and it was published in 1998. Trust me, she has written more books since then. She also happens to teach poetry, has published a how-to book, and teaches in an MFA Program for poetry.
The reason I like her is rather selfish. I love all things having to do with latin culture (though I'm not latin myself) and Extranjera recalls images of Mexico and the Spanish language for me. Her poems are lively, they describe many fantastic places and scenes, and of course, has bits of Spanish throughout which draws me in immediately. Here is a sample of one of her poems:
They leer from market stalls,
lean crudely carved in their
hundreds, on sticks of canes.
. First, though,
their cunjunto squeaks a set,
its violin so out of tune a dog
would run. And then at last
the old men, bent double,
enter in a twist.
they lift their masks we glimpse
that even these are children.
They will overwhelm us all.
*I grew up watching this actual dance. It is clever and funny, pure entertainment, and rich with tradition. How could I not love a writer who captures all of this in such a short span of words?