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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Desde el Exilio: A Collection of Poems from the Exile by Marianna Guedez Forgiarini speaks to the reader powerfully from the very first page of the dedication: “To the Venezuela of my childhood, the Venezuela of yesterday, the one that is lost but not forgotten.” In this collection of well-written and deeply moving poems, the author captures the soul and history of her people in words that are full of symbolism and poetry that cries out loud through its rhythms and the moments of history it describes. It is a poetic journey of a soul in exile, bemoaning the political legacy of a people; poetry that offers stunning allusions to the totalitarian regimes that have governed Venezuela, from the coming to power of Hugo Chavez Frias to his passing and then Nicolás Maduro Moros. In this collection, Marianna Guedez Forgiarini captures the brokenness of her people and the ills that come from the absence of democracy. The first poem captures moments of her childhood, filled with carefree laughter and freedom:
“My childhood was merely a brushstroke,
sculpted between laughs and promises.
Like a watercolor, clear and untouched.
A garden of hopes and unlocked doors…”
But then something happens that takes away the hope of the people and the living joy that has always been seen in their eyes. Tired and disillusioned, they muster the courage to rise up against a regime that oppressed the very people they were destined to serve. The author captures the image and many others with poignancy: “... sunken eyes and uncertain steps, / betrayed by broken promises, / broken dreams.” Desde el Exilio is a collection of poems of exile, a rare kind of literature that captures the sentiment of being forced from one’s native land to seek hope elsewhere. The emotion is strong, the author’s look into history filled with clarity. Punctuated by beautiful illustrations, this is the poetry of protest, one that explores man’s inhumanity to man and the misuse of power. While the lines of these poems will move readers to feelings of sympathy for the people, they are so well crafted that they exude a poetic beauty that is delightful in itself.