By Christopher Nosnibor
Mike Meraz is one busy writer. 43 only appeared last year, also published by Epic Rites Press. But quantity doesn’t mean a lack of quality: far from it, and anyone familiar with his work will know he is a master when it comes to producing short but focused works.
She Poems is indeed a slender volume, with a mere 33 pages. But Meraz is a writer of extreme economy, and makes every word in every short line in each of his short poems count. It’s a rare and undervalued skill in our maximalist culture, whereby perceived value for money – i.e. a 600-page novel is considered somehow superior because your cash buys you a lot of reading – trumps genuine value for money – i.e. a work of 200 pages can pack in more ideas and convey them more powerfully.
One should never conflate ‘powerful’ with ‘dark,’ though: in She Poems, Meraz presents a broad array of perspectives and sensations, and also demonstrates a knack for creating some magnificently upbeat and celebratory moments:
You are a
I am a
We are two
Filling the room
As is a constant and defining feature of Meraz writing, She Poems shows a clear understanding that less is more. These brief, pithy poems are also infused with an undercurrent of self-effacing humour, something again which is distinctive in the way Meraz applies it. This imbues the lines with a tangible humanity, and creates a sense of depth within the speaker’s persona – and of course, I’d hate to align the speaker with the narrator.
Meraz distils small snippets, fragments of life, into resonant chunks of text which are bite-size and intense in their flavour. The extreme economy of his writing shouldn’t leave anyone feeling short-hanged, because in stripping his words to be barest minimum, so he reaches to the very essence of the human condition, creating poems which are relatable and universal.
She Poems is published by Epic Rites Press