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Claire Ibarra’s Vortex of Our Affections whirls into the domestic space, where poems cyclone in the most spectacular fashion. Human disruption and repair is Ibarra’s forte. Befriended by a dog she names Bukowski, the speaker negotiates a "fissured marriage" and a mother who has "tea with Jesus on a space ship." Smart, generous, and often hilarious, these stunning poems celebrate love, loss and the opportunity to begin anew.
Claire Ibarra writes about love a worthy subject for any poet and one she plumbs with with honesty and grace. I’m struck especially by poems like "The Gringa Can Dance"People say we married too young"and "Reunion"My mother musters the will to tell her stories,/ of tea with Jesus on a space ship, /her lover, Irene, the one she left withby the compassion that laces Ibarra’s poetic narratives. Here is a poet-speaker brave enough to ask, What is the shape of childhood? What is the shape of my marriage?, and then, with the patience and probing attention to write in search of those answers.
Julie Marie Wade, author of Six: Poems and Small Fires: Essays