Reviewed by Rion Levy
In her small but packed Casa de mi Corazón, we watch Lindsay Soberano-Wilson grow up and into herself. She mainly concerns herself with the question of identity and how it shapes belonging.
The first half of the collection, composed of ten poems and a short passage of prose, “devoured in timelessness” (“The Western Wall,” line 10), explores her reckoning with identity and her learning of otherness. She opens her poem “Human Kind” with,
I am a Jewish woman
Jew-ish a type of ish
like relish, wish, cherish
What is this label stapled onto my fate?
She offers glimpses into moments where she felt her difference, both profoundly and shockingly, the way one does when the feeling is new. In “Talking in Flags” she says,
My soul is a splattered mixture of paint
spreading over different
nations, relations and foundations:
one colour dominates and the others
get washed in before it thins. (lines 33-37)
Her sensations are new but widespread, a collective sensation those who feel it discover for themselves mixed with grief and questions, and at times, unrelinquishable awe.
The second half of the collection, mostly prose but concluded with two poems. It opens with “As a young, Canadian Jewish woman, I felt like getting to know Isreal was like trying to get to know the wandering Jew… Or maybe I was the wandering Jewess trying to figure out where it was I belonged” (“The Curtain Falls over the Negev”). She artfully retells her explorations of her Spanish-Moroccan-Jewish and Venezuelan-Romanian-Jewish heritage through travels in Israel, Canada, Morocco, Germany, and England. She asks, “Have you ever tried to explain to someone that you are a Spanish Jew? I’ve been told that I’m not really Spanish because I’m Jewish… if I can’t be accepted as Spanish then who would accept me as Canadian” (“Early Impressions of Israel and Judaism”).
Through her wandering and wondering, she reaches her conclusion, “I am not a wandering Jewess. I was lost but now I am found. I am at home in my heart in my community, in my family—casa de mi corazón” (“A Eulogy for Marcos Soberano”). From initial questions to final, internal reckonings with the self, Soberano-Wilson’s collection blends languages and style to encourage her readers to begin to articulate their own journeys of self-coming.
Rion Levy is an emerging poet based in Toronto. His first collection of poems, Poems of the End Times, is set to be published in the spring of 2024. He is interested in research on the Beat Generation and completed his undergraduate thesis on poet, Peter Orlovsky.
Lindsay Soberano-Wilson is a poet, teacher, and freelance writer who lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her husband and three sons. Her poems and articles have appeared in journals, anthologies, and magazines, such as FreshVoices22, Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine, Canadian Woman Studies Journal, Running with Scissors, Travel Thru History, Scary Mommy, Canadian Jewish News, and Poetica Magazine. Follow her on Medium, Twitter or Instagram @PoetryMatters to explore motherhood, relationships, mental health, travel, education and sex positivity. She holds a MA (English Literature) and a BEd from the University of Toronto, and a BA (Creative Writing and English Literature) from Concordia University. www.LindsaySoberano.com