Review of Jose Antonio Mazzotti’s SAKRA BOCCATA

Sakra Boccata
Jose Antonio Mazzotti translated Clayton Eshleman. Ugly Duckling Presse, $12 paperback (70p) ISBN: 978-1-937027-16-2

Sakra Boccata is a tender book between tender author and tender translator. Tender like steak. Poems are playfully moved across pop culture and Peruvian history (Another reminder I am embarrassingly un-read in anything Latin American). Cycles seem important. Each poem has an opposite side, English and Spanish. The left side is impenetrable (dark). There are a total of 28 poems to coincide with the phases of the moon. The poems are often lusty, pulpy, and romantic (see darkness): “Your Konch is that exquisite place most deeply inside the War.” “There the perfect stage for the Mass was erected/There I climbed to sacrifice myself.” Interesting to me was the playfulness in translator Clayton Eshleman’s notes. Eshleman’s attention to detail and love of the text heightened my own feelings towards Mazzotti’s poems. I would eagerly flip back at the first sight of an asterisk: “’LoKilla,’ p.23: or Loquilla in conventional Spanish, also refers to ‘Ki-lla,’ Moon in Quecha, a meaning that the literal translation of ‘LoKilla’ (LittleKrazyOne) cannot convey.” I will say that while some books go for the jugular, strike out with sadness or rhetoric, Sakra Boccata inhabits subtle contemplation. These subdued thoughts can be initially underwhelming, but, given time, Sakra Boccata’s gentle pleasure and heat won me over: “And I write I write I write/Like the prisoner marking the walls/So as to count the days.” (November 2013)

Purchase Sakra Boccata HERE.

Reviewer bio: Wyatt Sparks lives in Forest Park, Illinois.
By Wyatt Sparks, inspired by SAKRA BOCCATA