Review by Mark Fischer
Cunt. Bomb., the second collection of poems by nationally recognized southwest feminist poet Jessica Helen Lopez, is a small chapbook – coming in at a thin 33 pages. The content however, is anything but. As the title may tell you, this collection of words is explosive. The nine poems are well organized and read front-to-back as a manifesto, a recipe book, a howl across mountains in the night calling all to congregate in the sacred space.
Nine facets of womanhood, from the feisty young grade school feminist to the embodiment of the Goddess Diana, this is the jewel at the center through which Lopez explores identity. Understanding the worship, celebration and exaltation of the feminine in every form appears to be the intent. The poet is embracing her sense of self and exploring her duty to teach self-love to women around the globe.
In this endeavor Lopez is quite successful. The images she conjures are strong and timely. In “Diana the Huntress,” she explores the horrifying murders of women in Mexico and the lone vigilante who fights back on long lonely bus rides as she writes, ”I fear no moon, Lady of Wild Creatures, La Cazadora worshiped by the womanly workers of Juarez.” There are no apologies here, no concessions, and that is what speaks most to the fidelity of this collection.
Jessica Helen Lopez is a member of the Macondo Foundation created by Sandra Cisneros, as well as a Chicana/o Poetics instructor at the University of New Mexico, a two-time Women of the World Poetry Slam Albuquerque City Champion and member of several city teams representing her home town at the National Poetry Slam. Her voice is singular, both sharp and sweet. Like every good storyteller you walk away from her performances both nurtured and haunted. This dichotomy comes through in this collection. One of the “30 Poets in their 30’s to Watch” according to MUZZLE magazine, Jessica Helen Lopez is well on her way to assuming her place along the front lines with the likes of fellow Chicana poets Cisneros, Ana Castillo, and Demetria Martinez. As far as “little black books” go – this is the one to choose.