Sergio Téllez-Pon. Translated by Don Cellini. Desire I Remember, but love no. ISBN 978-1484082409. $11.95.
What happens when a young poet in Mexico City writes about his coming out experiences? In No recuerdo el amor sino el deseo / Desire I remember but love, no the author shares these first steps: new romances, one-night-stands, unreturned phone calls, erotic adventures and disillusionments. What we discover is that these experiences are not unique to one individual, but belong to all of us. This is a book that crosses many boundaries, both geographical and emotional. Poetry of language and imagination, especially its intimate and earthy episodes, and an open heart (but in slant verse), this book welcomes – as if several shades were refracted and condensed into a quick, minimalist mosaic – a multitude of tones, voices, and passionate interests that acknowledge each other. In this way it manages happily to offer both poetry for poetry’s sake as well as poetry for the sake of the poet: thoroughly youthful, concrete, and in living color. – José Joaquín Blanco
Sergio Téllez-Pon is one of Mexico’s leading poets of queer identity, but his work until now has been almost unknown in the United States. With Don Cellini’s lucid translation of No recuerdo el amor sino el deseo, Téllez-Pon’s sultry and lyrical poetry comes alive for an English-speaking readership. This book of first loves and first heartbreaks speaks with a lonesome voice of fire and ash, each poem is a feverish spear, a cup brimming with sensuality, with sorrow and the everyday joys that keep “hope beating strong.” I find that each poem discloses something—about myself, about the world, about life—that I didn’t know I needed to learn. I hope that other readers will join me in reveling in these soulful and celebratory and heart-breaking verses. —Lauro Vázquez, Letras Latinas
Don Cellini is a poet, translator and photographer. A book of poems Candidates for Sainthood and Other Sinners / Aprendices de santo y otros pecadores, in collaboration with Fer de la Cruz, is forthcoming from Mayapple Press. He is a recipient of fellowships from the King Juan Carlos Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Cellini is professor emeritus at Adrian College in Michigan.