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Meagan Reads Poetry: A Sinking Ship Is Still A Ship by Ariel Francisco

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A Sinking Ship Is Still A Ship by Ariel Francisco, Burrow Press 2020

Full disclosure, I am acquainted with the poet who published this title. But that doesn’t make my review any less sincere. Francisco’s second collection of poetry, A Sinking Ship Is Still A Ship, published by Burrow Press encompasses that overall feeling of, “S*** happens, I guess.”

This collection holds great significance for bilingual readers who speak English and Spanish. Francisco’s work in English is published side by side with the Spanish translation, done by José Nicolás Cabrera-Schneider. But Cabrera-Schneider’s iterations particularly stood out because they retained some of the English quotes within the Spanish translations. It created an authenticity that made for a third language of sorts. It lent itself well to the idea of Spanglish being a whole different form of communication.

Overall, the best way to describe this collection is with the statement, “What a mood.” At every turn, Francisco employs his signature sarcasm that drenches his work in a generation-specific humor. Whether the speaker of a poem talks about insomnia, conversations with an ex, or the state of the environment, it all holds a sense of inevitability that is equal parts anxiety and acceptance.

A Sinking Ship Is Still A Ship offers a glimpse into the relationship between Florida and the speaker. May native Floridians can relate to the feeling. As a Floridian myself, I understood the underlying emotion in these poems. They indicate a distaste for home, but also know full well it is the environment that mold a person. A strange relationship between the speaker and Florida permeates these poems. It’s not love-hate, but simply recognition.

The poem “Descending Darkness” gets a good laugh out of anyone who grew up in the same neighborhood as the building Francisco describes. There’s a sense of validation at reading a poem about a legend the whole community knows about. More so as I actually once worked in that building that many thought abandoned. But in fact housed two watch companies for a time.

But the poet does such a good job at invoking local lore that the reader doesn’t necessarily have to be from South Florida to understand the feeling of shared history. To me, A Sinking Ship Is Still A Ship aims to convey that one’s identity, in all its flaws and positive traits alike, still belongs to them. And no one can take that away or erase it.

Shop your local indie bookstore to get a copy of Francisco’s latest collection of poems. If anyone else has read this poetry collection, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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