Both Nicole Cooley’s The Afflicted Girls and Rita Dove’s Sonata Mulattica contain simultaneously subtle and startling conflict, as does all of history. Conflict often represents the spaces where history has dumped the fragments of its mystery. It would be difficult for poetry to convey an imagined history without a conflict, a mystery, as a source of energy.
When Tough Girl, my alter ego, climbed out from the personal protective pod wielding a bag full of electrified wind, she initiated the process of reclaiming the original version of Andrea, “the other voice,” the poetic voice, which Octavio Paz extensively explores during his book The Other Voice. She helped me to gain composure while discovering the essence of who I really am, both a quiet poet and a vivacious activist.