is one of my favorite poets. At the Rainbow, his first and only book, blew my mind when I first read it as an undergrad. In fact, I've modeled portions of my first collection after his book. I love it that much. I still remember the day I found his book on the shelves of Hayden Library. The aisles were dim. His slim tome was next to six or seven books with black spines, gold script. When I passed these books the gold script across the black spines looked like the tunnels of a child's ant farm. Next to these books I saw a last name I could pronounce beautifully: Robert Vasquez. I picked it up. I fell in love. His lines have burned themselves into my memory. And the unsayable builds skyward. He once sent me an autographed copy of his book. It's one of my favorite objects.
Emmy mentions the importance of finding books that feed us. At the Rainbow was the book that made me want to become poet. The poems were so beautiful. The craft behind them was so exact it disappeared. I wanted to write poems like that. I still do. I haven't achieved that goal yet. And I'm not being humble. I know emerging poets who think they've "mastered" the art just because they've finished an MFA. Dumb, no? Not me. I will forever be a student. And one of my teachers is Robert Vasquez. His poems are a standard of excellence. An ideal I reach for when I write. A sustaining ideal.
Vasquez hasn't released a second book. Yet. I hear he's a perfectionist. He's been working hard on the second book for years now. Robert, come on! I need more poems. But thank goodness for the good folks over at Verse Daily. Today's poem is by Mr. Robert Vasquez.