The Moon Ain't Nothing But a Broken Dish
by Luis Felipe Fabre
translated by Jason Stumpf
cover art by Sally Ann Rodriguez
Luis Felipe Fabre writes a poetry of inquiry and definition. There is persuasive energy to the work of this poet who came of age in Mexico City of the 1990s; there is a force at once charming and irreverent, studied and associative in his leaps and linkages. He would burrow through history stirring ghosts. "A question for the dead:" he poses in one poem, "Does silence follow song or is there another song?" Characteristically, Fabre finds the answer to be both. Fabre's poems embody his skepticism of symbols ("A cross: / what's been said about the newest tree in the landscape: artificial tree / whose fruit is a corpse," he writes in "The Virgin and the stone"). They tread in the footsteps of the dead ("They said he said he came to say stone, / to stir the dust of this story."). His poems laugh and weep in equal measure. Irony and grief coexist in his world. Eduardo Milán has called Fabre's poems "Poetry that remakes poetry." Fabre's poems are reinvention through revision and collage. His voice collects the minimalism of Li Po with T.S. Eliot's high-mindedness; it sets the music of Rimbaud or Velarde or Neruda against the beautiful desolation of Brecht or Vallejo. Here lyric and essay are intertwined, experience and examination are inextricable. Wonder casts Fabre's poems into existence. Behind each are questions of "how" or "why" pursued from unexpected angles. His poems progress, stray, shift, and turn. Once begun, they form a world. Though they end, they do not finish. As he attests:
Another song: the silence of the dead: another flower
but the same flower but another
So welcome to Luis Felipe Fabre's ghostly landscape, his sublime investigation. It is tumbled with stories. It is littered with associations. Stay close as you follow the trail.
- Jason Stumpf
Jason Stumpf is the translator of Pura López-Colomé's Aurora (Shearsman 2007). His poems, essays, and translations have appeared in several journals including LIT, New American Writing, Post Road, and others.
Cover art by Sally Ann Rodriguez. Sally Ann is a California native, born and raised in the Bay Area. She began painting while living in Missoula, Montana and is self-taught. She currently resides in Martinez, CA.