BOOKS >>> SPLENDOR by Emily Bludworth de Barrios
Poets and their poems, from the relatively recent W.D. Snodgrass and Robert Lowell through Sylvia Plath on beyond Adrienne Rich to Sharon Olds, Carolyn Forché and Claudia Rankine, get a lot of praise for being honest and revealing of the murkiest outlines of the heart or surveying and sometimes examining our conscience. And they deserve it. Poetry can do that. Emily Bludworth de Barrios joins that company with Splendor as it mercilessly and glamorously displays heart and conscience sharp with observation, unflinching, careful, thoughtful and accomplished. This is a rare book, reading it provides such deeply involving occasions to look into one’s own heart.
– Dara Wier
Splendor is poetry about how one might “habitually make one’s life.” It speaks from the vantage point of privilege: the privilege of being “basically undamaged,” and acknowledges said privilege, again and again, as unearned luck, struggling against the easy conclusion that such luck might be a reward for being special. In rejecting that special status again and again, Bludworth de Barrios’s sharp and exacting language examines what it means to be “good” and “kind” in a world where failure is often and easy, but must be learned from not because one strives for nobility (though there is that, underneath it all) but because the self is inevitably and always “the long art project of [one’s] life.”
– Lina Mounzer
Emily Bludworth de Barrios is a poet. Splendor is her first full-length book of poems. She lives in Houston.