184.1: Chris Santiago:: [Island Without Ancestors] & The Silverest Tongue in the Philippines & Trans Am & Some Ruins
23 February 2015
After reading Chris Santiago’s poems, I immediately reached for my copy of Joan Didion’s The White Album and turned to its title essay. Freshly unpacked after a cross-country move, its pages still smelt like California. Small grains of sand from some grungy beach north of Santa Monica spilt from the book onto my desk that faces Ithaca, New York. Didion’s essay begins: “We tell ourselves stories in order to live...We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the moral lesson in the murder of five.” The narratives in Santiago’s poems carry this compulsion, to venture through memory and history, and to insist the importance of life and all of its incarnations.