THE BOY IN THE LABYRINTH
Exquisite means, at its root, “carefully sought out,” and Oliver de la Paz’s The Boy in the Labyrinth is a book of desperate and careful seeking, a labyrinthine allegory through the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur at the center of the labyrinth, through algebraic story problems and Autism Screening Questionaires and their inscrutable questions and more inscrutable answers, for ways of understanding the neurodiverse mind and the mind that seeks to understand what de la Paz calls “the swirling cacophony” of a boy’s brain. These labyrinthine poems—mysterious, devastating, precise in their terror of the unknowable--take us deeper into the mystery of other—and our own—minds, the X no solution can fully solves. Heartbreaking in its longing and exquisite—in the modern sense of ‘consummate and delightful excellence’— in its gorgeous threads, Boy in the Labyrinth pays homage to the exquisite textures of human minds as they seek the ultimate confrontations with the very meaning of selfhood and mind.
—Bruce Beasley, author of All Soul Parts Returned
POST SUBJECT: A FABLE
Ecstatic and obsessive, the prose poems that make up Oliver de la Paz’s Post Subject: A Fable reveal the monuments of a lost country. Through a series of epistles addressed to "Empire" a catalog emerges, where what can be tallied is noted in a ledger, what can be claimed is demarcated, and what has been reaped is elided. The task of deposing the late century is taken up. What’s salvaged from the remains is humanity.
A FACE TO MEET THE FACES
Edited by Stacey Lynn Brown and Oliver de la Paz, the poems in A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry represent the intersection of tradition and possibility. The poets range in age and accolade and draw their inspiration from sources that are as disparate as the ways in which information is disseminated in our multimedia world. From ancient mythology to popular culture, from fairy tales to tabloids, the voices in these poems address a wide range of issues that are historical, contemporary, and ultimately timeless.
REQUIEM FOR THE ORCHARD
Oliver de la Paz’s Requiem for the Orchard is a love letter to memory and its ability to both sustain and shatter us beyond the “dust of ourselves, / cold, decisive, and purely from the earth.” de la Paz renders in beautiful and exacting language the tenderness and ferocity of boyhood, alongside the enduring vulnerability of parenthood. Out of such intimate recollection a generous wisdom blossoms.
—Jon Pineda, author of The Translator’s Diary
Furious Lullaby is both a celebration of and a eulogy to the body in the twenty-first century. The collection, which examines the larger concepts of salvation and temptation in a world of blossoming strife, includes a series of aubades – dramatic poems culminating with the separation of lovers at dawn. The lovers suffer a metaphysical crisis, seeking to know what is good, what is evil, and how to truly know the difference. Knowing, however, requires that they invite the truly terrible into their world. The Devil, a seductive trickster, haunts the landscape as a voice who dares each inquisitor to learn about mortality, morality, the beautiful, and the terrible through direct experience. Furious Lullaby offers a departure from the lighter prose poetry of de la Paz’s Names above Houses and preserves the author’s concern with the nature of human grace.
NAMES ABOVE HOUSES
“Oliver de la Paz has created a unique work: a novella in the form of a sequence of prose poems; a lucidly inventive allegory of migration, exile, and belonging. With grace and elegance, he evokes the magical, myth-making culture of his Philippines and brings it to a very real California in the person of Fidelito, a boy who wants to fly, and his parents, Domingo and Maria Elena. Oliver de la Paz has the strength and wisdom to step lightly with the heaviest burdens. He is stunningly good. Names above Houses celebrates the trials and indestructibility of a family and is a durable refreshment, an essential document of life at the cultural crossroads.”
—Rodney Jones, author of Elegy for the Southern Drawl