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BLUE WHALE PHENOMENA uses various poetic forms, e.g., documentary, speculative, surrealism, infused with dark humor, suffering, the comical, the taboo, as well as literary devises such as metaphors and similes, in incredibly unique and strange ways, to shed a light on human cruelty, loss and death. Death is an obsession that permeates throughout this collection, but hope also abounds.
We hope to share some intimacy with poets, but books of poems cannot be approached as though they are true entrances into poets' lives. Yet accomplished books of poems offer us some intimacy with poets' minds and their machinations. BLUE WHALE PHENOMENA introduces Steve Castro as a relentless storyteller and story interrupter--inventing narrative moments or instead etching his brilliant quirks into the narratives with which we were born into the world. Like the cowhand in his poem Two-Bullet Cowgirl Blues, Castro--often within the same poem--kills with his first associative shot only to reanimate with his second. I would say Castro is taking his place in a poet constellation with other twinkling voices such as Walid Bitar, Elaine Equi and Charles Simic.--Kyle Dargan
Steve Castro's BLUE WHALE PHENOMENA depicts the world as it really is, with all its strange correspondences and upended situations, the never-could-be-expected always, you might say expectedly, what happens next. In this tome of a debut, Castro shows his poetic range and intelligence and marvelous sense of curiosity, as well as his particular mastery of the image, which fixes him within a lineage of writers that includes Poe and Baudelaire, and farther back, to Coleridge and Blake. I love his writing and am thrilled to celebrate this beautiful arrival.--David Keplinger
Steve Castro is a contemporary surrealist in the spirit of James Tate and Russell Edson and Charles Simic. His poems, imaginative, fearless and full of wit, take us into new and strange worlds that resemble our own in dark and scary ways.--Maura Stanton
The sharp-witted poems in BLUE WHALE PHENOMENA are ingenious parables that poke holes through expectations and deflate the inflated ego. By taking English idioms at their literal word, they shift our perspectives, divulge injustice, reveal human suffering and resilience. Like the immigrants in Arriving Miracles, Steve Castro's intrepid poems have the power to walk through walls and locked gates. They speak in tongues and tongue-in-cheek. This is an amazing book, an astonishing first collection.--Shari Wagner
'Imaginate, ' the title of one of Steve Castro's brilliant, short surreal poems in his collection BLUE WHALE PHENOMENA, could serve as his overall title. Quirky, lively imagination drives the poems in this collection. The dead don't stay dead--they die every Tuesday, which, they explain to their professor, is why they missed Tuesday's class. Whales fall from the sky. Cliches transform into original similes. But Castro's surrealism isn't the cold, intellectual kind--his poems are infused with heart as well as with brain. Playful and imaginative as they are, his poems are steeped in emotional insight. Read this collection twice: the first time for its flashes of wit, and the second time for its surface-piercing vision.--Richard Cecil
Poetry. Latinx Studies.