i am alt lit

alt lit reviews

90.0 ‘bluebird and other tattoos’ by luna miguel

'bluebird and other tattoos' by luna miguel // scrambler books, 2012


perhaps the most ‘surprising’ thing about this book is the ‘author’s note’ section

she lists a lot of yr ‘alt lit’ superheroes

but there’s a problem

luna has a sophisticated style that outdoes them all


the panache and elegance of these poems bludgeons the contemporary alt lit scene 

she makes ‘flowery’ language beautiful again

she is a ‘precocious’ talent one of those poets that cause you to be instantly envious

she writes mostly in spanish, so ‘hats off’ to jeremy spencer for translating all of these

because they are sincerely beautiful


luna miguel is 22 but many of these poems are from her teenage years

but those ‘younger’ poems are frankly my favorite

yes, there are some ‘sexual awakening’ moments and even dives into longer form 

but these early poems contain a refined boldness

from ‘poem & cigarette’

one hundred hours under the cricket call of daisies

fingers crossed for a quick return

curtains closed until the sun reclaims me

one hundred hours where Venus does no damage

take the scissors and look away


in the section called ‘good old neon’ 

luna moves into more repetition of verses, structure, ideas

'cave lunam' is a favorite

here’s part of it:

Be careful.

My flu is swine and malignant.

My flu is mad cow and bird.

My flu is badly translated Nietzsche

Pay attention to my swollen veins,

I keep Panero’s drool inside them.

Inside, the heart of a Kinder Egg

without a surprise:

Sylvia Plath Deceased,

David Foster Wallace Deceased,

Virginia, butterfly style, Deceased.

okk now’s the time to see how well metaphors can actually work in a poem from one of your contemporaries instead of writing every single thing provocatively concrete and brash

let’s convey emotion using the signs of culture and softly distorting them

let’s make friends with our words

let’s be lovely and gentle

let’s aim for more with our words

but luna still adapts this “ALT LIT” style with short bursts in places, but she pumps up the syllable count, word complexity, and acceptable imagery—she is writing about herself with more nuance

look here from “bark or die”

"Drugs that I have consumed. Medicines.

Mouths that I have rejected and now need.

Animal brains that my mother would cook

before changing cities

and to leave

the cockroaches of the cupboard 

in oblivion”

that’s yr “loneliness” and “drug references” rendered better than any of you or me have ever done #TRUTH

then not surprisingly she busts w/ this later in the same poem:

"I have seen the generation to which I belong and I hardly support it.

I have seen my generation renounce literature.

I have seen it and I am not interested.

I have seen it and I look too much.

I have seen it dead.”


yr new goal is for luna miguel to love yr writing