I would like to share a review of a book of poetry by the poet, Eddie Morales. I was privileged
to be given an advance copy of For the Love of Nine Muses. As many of you may (or may not)
have heard, the author challenged himself to write approximately 80 poems in almost as many days.
His idea was to examine in a memoir-esque manner, past loves (with the exception of two ex-wives)
ranging from his adolescence to contemporary time.
His relationship with eight diverse women is documented in ten poems each, which generally
cover the beginning, middle, and end of each relationship. The tones of the poems are at times
tender and sweet, especially during the teenage years; at others, passionate and titillating, as the
narrator comes of age as a sexual being.
In the first section on Fiona, Eddie deftly handles the arousal of a teenage boy--both literally, by
plunging into the cold ocean to hide his embarrassing arousal, and from a literary point of view by
using the metaphor of a caterpillar to describe Fiona's transformation into a butterfly. Reading the
book over Valentine's weekend, I was reminded of my own youthful relationships: "we hold hands/
we whisper sweet nothings to each other/ My arm moves over her shoulder" and budding
sexuality. By the last section, Baybee, the relationship is much more overtly intimate:
"Then, I look at your beautifully exposed body, /
And Baybee, I don't blame the wind, /
Because I'm the one who loved
You up last night."
In many poems, there is a recurring theme of "watching you sleep after sex" but it is not a
creepy voyeurism, but rather a deep appreciation of the beauty of a woman. The observant narrator
notices details such as "your hair in a bun" or "the Frederick's of Hollywood stockings / You slide
slowly up your smoothly shaved legs." What woman would not want her lover to really see and
Beyond the focus on the women, the love, and the intimacy, what really emerges is a portrait of
a man. This is a man who is intelligent; his friends nicknamed him "Bookworm." He loves to read
and adores the works of Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and other poets.
He is a researcher, one who knows world mythology and literature and appropriately sprinkles
allusions throughout his poetic works, especially to emphasize and augment the cultural ethnicity of
the young woman who is the current object of his affection.
This is a man who is a nice guy, "a decent young man." How do we know? Because when a
stripper "danced a string away from naked," our narrator does "nothing but stare at [her] face,"
particularly, her "panther-like eyes." He is a thoughtful man who when he "saw an old man slowly
walking alongside the road,...offered to give him a lift home" which provided an opportunity to meet
Aksharani, yet another young woman from a different culture, in this case, Mumbai in India.
This is a man who is tolerant and free from prejudice. He loves indiscriminately. He loves black,
Jamaican, Latina, and Asian women with equal passion. He appreciates culture (be it the poetry of
the Harlem Renaissance, Shakespeare, and the haiku form, or the mythology of India) and good
ethnic foods such as "curry goat, fried dumplings, spicy patties . . . rice and beans, fried hard
plantain," or good old chocolate chip cookies!
Finally, this is a man who is a romantic and an optimist. He dedicates his book to "All who have
loved and lost and loved and lost and so on." He knows that love will come again. He recognizes
that the greatest love is hope, for "she is someone you should never give up" and "she is my best
Lara Anderson, M.A., Humanities, The Foote School, New Haven, CT
|Review by Lara Anderson, M.A., Humanities