Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sonnets from a Puerto Rican

Agueros is an incredible poet, presenting us with several intriguing sonnets for this class. I found the sonnet, Waiting in Tompkins Park to be particularly moving. Jack Agueros is nearly prophetic in his writing, although it is clear he only meant to write about present day (which happened to be almost 15 years ago). The imagery he invokes is that of a modern-day Great Depression scenario. The parallel he draws between the societal and economic perils of today and those of the 1930s are uncanny. In fact, he takes it a step farther. He wonders if maybe today's culture has a kind of destitution not seen by those of older generations. Perhaps, he says, it's always been this way. Perhaps it's always been that the government has had some sort of hand in the poverty of the people; whether it be intentional or just through neglect.
Another sonnet of his that really touched me was Sonnet for Heaven Below. The title in and of itself evokes a beautiful dichotomy, and piques the interest of the reader. Agueros uses an extended metaphor to describe the New York homeless as angels. He starts off by showing the reader the homeless/angels who are forced to sleep in the subway tunnels of NYC, and then uses grimy imagery to describe how those angels are turned into the typical street-dwellers of the city. I find this sonnet to be heartbreaking. It really re-humanizes the homeless who are typically detested by the "smart New Yorkers". It reminds the reader that even the homeless are people, and they may even be better people than you or I.

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