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Maurice Kilwein Guevara

Maurice Kilwein Guevara

Maurice Kilwein Guevara was born in 1961 in Belencito, Colombia, and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has received awards from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the J. William Fulbright Commission. His books of poetry include Postmortem (University of Georgia Press, 1994) and Poems of the River Spirit (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996). He is currently Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Also by Maurice Kilwein Guevara

  • Postmortem (1994)
  • Poems of the River Spirit (1996)
  • POEMA (2009)

Autobiography of So-and-so: Poems in Prose

Autobiography of So-and-so: Poems in Prose

Autobiography of So-and-so:
Poems in Prose

$14.00 paper | 77 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-0-932826-16-9
Publication Date: Spring 2001
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A Green Rose Book

"With a magical naturalism that refuses to separate the local from the global, Maurice Kilwein Guevara's Autobiography of So-and-so: Poems in Prose holds our eye close to the Western wound: where cultures mix only by bleeding into each other. These prose chronicles reconfigure fixed assumptions about self and enter a threshold past which facts are as haunted as nightmares and consensual reality has become a waking dream. . . . The upshot: a troubling beauty that gets at the difficult news with perpetual newness and hope."
        —William Olsen

"Over the course of 46 prose pieces centering on the speaker's life lived alternately in Colombia and the United States, Guevara works up a self-portrait in which each tale builds off the previous to make an accumulative, unflinching music. '"
        —Publisher's Weekly

"Maurice Kilwein Guevara ... gives us a book that is part memoir, part poetry collection and part surrealistic vision of what it is to have one foot in North America and one in South. ...As the voice of a man caught between cultures, this is a quintessentially American book. ...To be American, Guevara implies, is to live here but to be connected elsewhere."
        —Michael Simms, Pittsurgh Post-Gazette

"The playful title establishes the tone Guevara maintains almost throughout, as the author takes autobiographical material and imaginatively recasts it into something of nearly mythical proportions, as Marquez so often does with his characters. Perhaps because American poets tend to mine their pasts so grimly and journalistically, Guevara’s work startles the reader with it joyful, fun house distortions. ...While rooted in Latin American surrealism, Guevara concocts a language and a world that is all his own."
        —John Bradley, Rain Taxi

Praise for Postmortem:

"This is a book that pulls its readers in and holds them in the thrall of its emotions. Sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, sometimes horrifying, sometimes heartwarming, these poems run the gamut of the author's lifestory. At the end, the book does, as its final words ask, echo."
        —Hispanic Review

Praise for Poems of the River Spirit:

"[Kilwein] Guevara writes with immense poise and authority. His images are exact and true, his language is raw yet utterly polished. Furthermore, the word 'multicultural' might have been coined for this poet, who alludes to Dante as casually as he deploys Spanish slang. Voices haunt this book. . ."


My Grandmother’s White Cat

      When fiber-optic, sky-blue hair became the fashion, my father began the monthly ritual of shaving his head. It was August, and we were still living in the Projects without a refrigerator. The sound of my mother fluttering through the rosaries in another room reminded me of the flies I’d learned to trap in mid-flight and bring to my ear.
      “Vecchio finally died,” my father said, bending to lace his old boots. “You want to come help me?”
      My grandparents lived in a green-shingled house on the last street before the Jones & Laughlin coke furnaces, the Baltimore & Ohio switching yard, and the sliding banks of the Monongahela. The night was skunk-dark. The spade waited off to the side.
      Before I could see it, I could smell the box on the porch.
      We walked down the tight alley between the houses to get to the backyard where fireflies pushed through the heat like slow aircraft and tomato plants hung bandaged to iron poles. My father tore and chewed a creamy yellow flower from the garden.
      After a few minutes of digging, he said, “Throw him in.”
      I lifted the cardboard box above my head, so I could watch the old white cat tumble down, a quarter moon in the pit of the sky.