Oil and Candle
Oil and Candle
(Timeless, Infinite Light, 2016)
This book traces imagined rituals, failed rituals, and magical objects of Santería in confronting issues of race, warfare, and the precarity of Latino lives. Object-oriented, Oil and Candle localizes biographical, theoretical, and imagined content in a Limpias oil and an Abrecaminos prayer candle (or velón). This book is the winner of the Timeless, Infinite Light TRACT contest and was released in March 2016.
PRAISE FOR OIL AND CANDLE
Gabriel Ojeda-Sague's poems, to borrow a phrase from Robert Hayden, are 'wild, patterned, and free.' The language is restless; it leaps and alights in surprising ways. A ghost calls on a landline and 'time/ opens its clouds.' Paradoxically, the non-linear unfolding of sense and music allows Ojeda-Sague to craft a vivid matrix of patterns: identity, rituals, queerness, citizenship, and war. At the heart of this matrix is a voice --discerning and serendipitous -- that moves from intimate telling to a gorgeous torquing of syntax and line. The aesthetic freedom fueling Oil and Candle is exhilarating. All language is at play for Ojeda-Sague, which allows him to score the page with multiple tongues and registers. Oil and Candle is a remarkable and searing book. A must-read.
"When I exist, / I am complicit.” Opening Oil and Candle I found myself poured into a whispering ceremonial basin. Ojeda-Sague wields reverence and perceptivity like a sudden dusting of snow in a too warm winter. His honest rhythm, the posture of his questing will rip through you the way that a photograph develops in a darkroom.