Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media
To read a book by Rafael Campo is not a casual treat. This poet-doctor has published two prior poetry collections. The first (The Other Man Was Me) was a winner in the prestigious National Poetry Series of 1993. It was followed by What the Body Told and then a book of essays, The Poetry of Healing (reviewed in JAMA July 16, 1997). Diva is his latest collection of poems and the most pointed.
The collection is a virtuoso display. Campo deals with the "received form," or formal poetry, with a "particularly severe obsession" with sonnets. He does, however, draw on a great variety of styles, ranging from terza rimas, villanelles, pantoums, heroic couplets, and envelope quatrains to prose poems. He is a superb writer, adept at many tools of his craft. He takes on the additional challenge of translating poems of Federico García Lorca. This demands the additional skills of bilingual sensitivity and the ability to conserve the poet's nuances in the new language.
PoetryDiva. JAMA. 1999;282(24):2369. doi:10.1001/jama.282.24.2369-JBK1222-3-1