Ways to Misspell Obsidian - GAZELL_iO
A digital poetry collection by Ana María Caballero in partnership with GAZELL.iO
“My poetry is rooted in the intimate details of my days. My writing is also very direct. To say things simply is to trust in the intention of language. This collection was designed to be visually minimal. It wagers everything on the power and beauty of written and spoken words.”
– Ana María Caballero
WAYS TO MISSPELL OBSIDIAN is a collection of spoken-word poems by Ana María Caballero that investigates and celebrates the storytelling potential of long-form poetry. Following the passing of a very close friend, Caballero composed JUAN, a eulogy-in-verse. This text serves as both precursor and companion to “Ways to Misspell Obsidian,” a lyric essay written years later in which details of Juan’s passing are braided into the story of the intoxication of Caballero’s young son with nail polish remover.
Caballero culled from the pages of her essay to create two standalone poems, FATHOMLESS and ONCE. Combined with JUAN, these works form a triptych of shared signification, recursion, imagery, and vocabulary in which rhyme, unexpected line breaks, and spacing are used to sketch the shadows of emotion.
Written in Caballero’s signature, straightforward style, the texts read like open heart surgery. The reader is welcome into the folds of each word as an active participant, searching for meaning via memory–but gently. Traumatic and commonplace events are woven together to show how bright bursts of significance hide in every moment of our lives.
Caballero’s poems don’t deliver tidy answers, and they are unapologetic about it. Instead, they invite the reader to sit beside meaning and discover how such proximity can suffice.
“Ways to Misspell Obsidian,” was a finalist for the Emerging Writer’s Contest hosted by Ploughshares, one of the most prestigious literary journals in the United States. JUAN was written as a gift for Juan’s sister and was published as an artwork by GAZELL.iO, via their first-ever poetry reading at the gallery, on September 29th, 2022.