Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lost & Found: A Review of Rob Geisen's paper thin by Trinidad "Trino" Sánchez Jr

I first heard of Trinidad "Trino" Sánchez Jr at a poetry reading in San Antonio, Sun Poets Society, I think, maybe from Rod Striker? They had copies of his book Why Am I So Brown (March/Abrazo Press 99) and read a few poems of Trino's out loud to the audience. It stuck and so a year later we meet in Denver, I was coming in the city from Boulder for readings at the Mercury Cafe. We talked for awhile and had some drinks and read poetry. I saw him often over the next few years (Poetry readings in Denver or San Antonio) and counted him as a friend and fellow traveler. To me he was not just a Chicano poet (I do consider him a central figure there), but also he was a scribe for the higher word and he built his treasures for what comes after this world.

Unfortunately we lost Trino about two years ago, he had been hospitalized after suffering two strokes. Naomi Shihab Nye said of Sánchez, "Everyone adored him, he was one of the most-loved literary community members — he was a prince."

Recently Rob Geisen, Boulder poet, wrote me with this review and remembrance attached.

"After paper thin and the Penny Lane Anthology came out we went to the Mercury Cafe in Denver to try and sell some books. That's where I met Trinidad. He was amazing. A great poet and really nice guy. We hung out all night. He introduced us to everybody--and a couple of weeks after that he sent Gary and Tyler a review he'd written of my book paper thin."

Never published, we thought we might share that with you now.

Rob Geisen
paper thin (farfalla press 04)

Years ago my good friend and poet Charlie Owsley was surprised to find that I had different shelving for my books of poetry by Chicano poets, Black poets and poets without color. He then began to ask me the purpose of doing this and was I discriminating in some literary way! I replied:...A color had nothing to do with it, this system helped me to know immediately where my favorite poets were shelved.

Years later, Denver, Colorado, when I made the move somehow the books got shelved alphabetically regardless of the ethnicity of their author. Sunday, January 23 2004 I am reading paper thin by Rob Geisen, his other books include beautiful graveyards poetry and novels crushed, September's Coming and death aboard a really fast train.

Paper thin by Rob Geisen is the first publication by farfalla press, a new press out of Boulder by Gary Parrish and the decision was a wise one.In the intro Gary calls him the American Neruda and after reading the first 20 pages, I think of how many colors paper comes in and how perplexed I am now that I library the books alphabetically I'm not sure whether to place him on shelf G for Geisen or Great lines to steal, L for Love, F for fucking good, A for American Neruda, N for New Favorite or P for paper thin or poets delight!

My philosophy being that if you are going to steal a line, steal a fucking good one! I can't tell you how many lines I wanted to steal just in the first 20 pages but did not want to chance being arrested by Denver police! Choices became difficult...I knew that I would not remember them all and that maybe I should just go back to the book, enjoy the read and invite you to join me.

Trinidad Sanchez, Jr.

Denver - January 2004

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