Some poets lurk—simmer—under the radar. But when their poems are so good, they come to my attention even as I remain as reticent about my recognition as they are about pushing themselves into the spotlight. That’s what’s great about a book—a book can give (me) the opportunity to sing praise on their behalf. I do that for Michael Caylo-Baradi’s debut (I assume it’s his debut) poetry collection, HOTEL PACOIMA. I read it and was stunned, but in a way I’d anticipated. He solidly grasps the ineffable: masterful at not just objectifying but eroticizing language into flesh itself, sagacious when it comes to observing culture, easily offers a textured diction that often lapses into the delicious, and (and this is difficult to articulate) proffers a sense of some rapprochement with life, such that it ultimately makes sense that he offers Anita Brookner through an epigraph including “…at last I understand that acceptance is all. I succumb to the genius of the place, and know true felicity. The sun is God. Of the rest it is wiser not to know, or not yet to know.” Dear Reader, I counsel you RUN to get this book.
A Sample Poem: