Ojo en Celo / Eye in Heat
Aflame with desire, the eye conjures, dreams, invents itself, sees what it wants. The eye sees what it is able to see.
Ojo en celo / Eye in Heat brings into sharp relief the limits of our gaze. It shows us what it is to escape the mirror and move beyond mirages. Margarita Pintado Burgos invites us to ponder the impasse while showing us ways to see better, to break the habit of lying, and to confront images along with language.
With devastating clarity, Pintado Burgos’s poems, presented in both Spanish and English, give voice to the world within and beyond sight: the plants, the trees, the birds, the ocean waves, the fruit forgotten in the kitchen, the house’s furniture. Light takes on new dimensions to expose, manipulate, destroy, and nourish. Alejandra Quintana Arocho’s sensitive English translation renders the stark force of these poems without smoothing over the language of the original.
This collection is for anyone who has felt the weight of beauty that remains hidden. It is for those who have left behind a mother, a father, a country. It is for those who know that there is no way out of the poem, for those who have had to live off a house of words and need that house to be as real as possible. Pintado Burgos writes as a woman, exile, daughter, sister, lover, and artist empowered by the restorative potential of the creative phenomenon.
“Margarita Pintado’s poetry believes in miracles. Ojo en celo / Eye in Heat turns us on. Without noticing, we are taken where life unfolds. Even what interrupts the poem becomes the poem. We are lucky to have such an honest voice that knows how to make beauty with the shape pain bestows on us—the best kind of beauty—and that makes such an arduous exercise of testimony, that of restoring faith to the world with the song of a bird, knowing that language is the true place of events.”—Mara Pastor, author of Deuda Natal, 2020 Ambroggio Prize winner
“In Ojo en celo / Eye in Heat, the poet reminds us that our collective feelings of fear and love and joy and heartbreak unite us. We are in this together, sometimes weak, sometimes strong, sometimes lost, sometimes found, always longing: ‘The sublime wanders among us / with the same rigor as misfortune.’ Margarita Pintado Burgos’s poetry in this latest bilingual collection is brilliant, and the translations from Spanish to English spot on. Ojo en celo is a must-read for all who go searching and for all who’ve lost and loved.”—Michael Klam, executive editor of San Diego Poetry Annual (SDPA) and Editor-in-Chief of the bilingual edition of SPDA: Imagine
“The reader of this book will know the delight of entering the waters of a river and retracing a submerged path. The poetic current might take him down a dangerous way, but the jingle of the words pushes him forward. With her head in the branches and her feet planted in the sand, the poetry of Margarita Pintado is dark and wild. Someone whispers in the river bend, a deer passes between the tree trunks. The image huntress measures him from afar with eyes in heat. The reader is her prey.”—Néstor Díaz de Villegas, author of De dónde son los gusanos
“Magical things happen when the observer, that elusive ‘flaneur’ from modern European literature is a woman poet who looks at and evaluates the everyday reality to produce reflection and knowledge that, transmuted into poetry, gives substance and shape to the melancholic act of observation. Ojo en celo / Eye in Heat collects the poetic work of Margarita Pintado from her three previous books and new poems, where observations and reflections about the daily life are confronted with a series of losses, the sea, migration, and the personal/intimate history informed by the feminist thought. The result is an exploration from within about who we are and how to exist when one happens to live far away as an intellectual woman. This is a moving collection that works internally and externally, in dialogue with the experiences of every migrant and every woman who observes and evaluates the world.”—Mayra Santos-Febres, author of Antes que llegue la luz and 2009 Guggenheim Fellow
“Ojo en celo / Eye in Heat condenses, in a single body, the diversity of rhythmic motifs that give meaning to today’s poetry. A resounding convergence of approaches: plasticity of material forms and their space in nature, human place and time interacting with the world, which are presented in short verse or prose poem, fusing reflection and thought with the unconscious functioning of the language. A truly remarkable book.”—León Félix Batista, author of Poema con fines de humo, 2021 Salomé Ureña de Henríquez Prize Winner
“Ojo en celo / Eye in Heat is full of paradoxical tensions. Margarita Pintado’s sharp eye is committed to each carefully crafted word and phrase to bring us a poetics of lack and desire. More than just a keen eye, in this book we find a whole sensitive body made of beauties and fragilities.”—Elidio La Torre Lagares, author of Wonderful Wasteland and Other Natural Disasters
“Margarita Pintado’s poems often startle me, and I adore them for it. On beaches or in Walmart, of strangers or family, Pintado writes with such vivid detail that I find myself thinking of her poems long after I’ve read them, picturing them as if recalling my own memories. Did I see a contortionist in Arkansas? Did I meet Pintado’s handsome father? Her poems make me want to say, ‘Yes. Yes.’ Her writing has made me fall in love with every person, plant, and place inside this book.”—Katie Manning, author of Hereverent
“Margarita Pintado Burgos prances in the everyday to remind us that life is meaningful by itself, no ornaments needed. She opens the door to surprise and brings us what I like to call a poetics of mischievous innocence. Her poems model an ethics of the futile that fights back the hyper-productive and fast-paced times of modernity by finding a place, a standpoint from where we can contemplate, love, and revere beauty. But don’t be fool by her innocence; here vibrates a high-flying poet who knows how to transform ‘still life’ into a matter of the sublime in no time, and in such effortless way.”—Azahara Palomeque, author of RIP (Rest in Plastic)
“Margarita Pintado’s trajectory between her poetic personna (a young girl) and the product of her inscriptions travel through her eyes with which she intensely looks at the world. Her relations with the people she loves and the things surrounding her is a permanent quest after her need to copulate with the white page (her poetics). Uncertainty and the feeling of inhabiting life are the central objects of her vocabulary: ‘Sometimes she lies / inside a fresh wound / and gazes blankly.’ From this ‘invisibility’ arises the poem.”—Aurea María Sotomayor, author of Apalabrarse en la desposesión: Literatura, arte y multitud en el Caribe insular, 2020 Casa de las Américas International Prize