Tuesday, May 16, 2006



Heading Home by Loreta M. Medina
(Giraffe Books, Quezon City, Philippines, 1996)

Loreta M. Medina is a gifted writer and poet whose work has been featured in journals internationally. Readers of Heading Home will also experience her talent in photography and Chinese inkbrush painting. Clearly, poetry and art free Medina, and at the same time anchor her to Earth. Her visual artistry enhances her stunning poetry, and vice versa. In fact, her poetry is often written from the mind's eye of an artist. Consider, for example, these two excerpts from the beautiful "One Day at the Lagoon:"

Geese in tones of black and white
move about in perfect grace,
creating endless layers
of luminous whirlpools.

* * * *

As the afternoon wears on
the sun settles on the horizon
weaving orange wonders.

The poet's humanitarian work has taken her to many foreign lands. She matures far from home. Unfamiliar sights and experiences transform her youthful perspectives. "Poem in Exile" clearly communicates this transformation. I quote two excerpts from this long poem:

As I watch the mountains
I realize I am on foreign soil once again,
hovering above things like hot, summer air.
Home is where consciousness loses its hold,
where you are one with the wind, heat, and dust,
family and loved ones, your taste buds,
the grass and sun,
sounds at night.

* * * *

You bathe in this presence,
you enter the tiny interstices
of your newly found truth
until you become truth yourself.
You have no need for a body that senses,
nor a mind that analyzes,
nor a hand that will hold for you,
or open to you the door to life's mystery.

I had the distinct feeling while reading Medina's poetry that she does not create from the outside looking in. My sense is that the poet and the poem become one. I quote one brief excerpt from "Letter Addressed to a Poem" in example:

let me be an ally to you
if not a wellspring, a wall
to lean on. A rock at which you fling
your crystal nut
to test its fire.

The range of subjects found within this book is exceptional. In addition to the excerpts I've quoted, readers will find words sensual and surreal, sorrowful and outraged by her visions of our modern world. Loreta M. Medina knows what it means to be female and skillfully shares herself with readers. I recommend that poetry lovers find this book and savor Medina's thoughts.


Laurel Johnson is a Retired Registered Nurse and the author of four books. She is Senior Reviewer for Midwest Book Review; Review Editor for New Works Review; Staff Reviewer for Shadow Poetry Quill Quarterly Review and occasional submitting reviewer for The Wandering Hermit Review and Irish News and Entertainment. Her poetry and prose can be found online in various literary e-zines. She lives in Nebraska with her husband of forty years.


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