There is a mischievous energy in 'Writing the Truth' that freshens the familiar terrain of the confessional poet. This is due to the vitality of the voice that speaks the confession in these poems. It disperses emotion onto the page for the reader, sharing confidences, holding open the family album and inviting the voyeur in. Miguel Guerreiro Lourenço’s poems are unflinching, with a multilingual narrative voice that self-examines the process of writing the poems, so that the writer is present in the text accompanying the reader. The poems are concerned with crossing borders between boyhood and manhood, Portugal and England, regret and hope, family that one is born into and the family one creates. There is no easy absolution here for the father that failed the narrator, instead the poet presents the mental illness this abandonment caused, and a vital thriving from the love gained in marriage that fills the paternal absence and blurs the intense snapshots of pain the narrator experienced in youth.
- Ruth Stacey, author of acclaimed poetry collection 'Queen, Jewel, Mistress'
Miguel Guerreiro Lourenço’s poetic suite 'Writing the Truth' traces the landscape of a living life in language unsentimental yet laced with feeling. Yes, we feel we are reading ‘the truth’ as the author strikes out his name, giving the collection a personal/impersonal tone immediately relatable rather than bound up to a particular subjectivity. There’s loss and love, grief and self-revelation woven in language at turns vivid and swooning, always accessible and feeling most verily true.
The introductory prose-poem presents a condensed version of the suite’s more openly explored poems. “he told me" in the intro becomes the “he told me" poem, as do “daddy issues are better than petrol’ and ‘blue razor’ each poem filling in, fleshing out, hyperlinking the phrase to its fuller display of childhood longing, as in 'brittle' about the "mother who has broken my heart too many times for me to love her the way I should."
Yet after the poem “but" the tone shifts from the longings of childhood to the man who does not "feel compelled to return,/where the clouds are the colour of week-long/ bruises instead of ripe peaches.” Rather he’s feeling the improbability of his loving now: "there is always a but I am the happiest I have ever been but/ do I really deserve to be this happy and to be remembered at all?/ have I truly considered the snake’s spit coating my gums?/my upbringing?” We understand the abundance of a life bespangled in sugar from a wife who "drowns me in love to ripen the best in me.”
- Dr. Marilyn Zucker, Visiting Scholar at Stony Brook University
'Writing the Truth' is a bold and compelling debut from Miguel Guerreiro Lourenço and proves without doubt that he is a poet to watch. These carefully crafted poems dance deftly between intensely personal admissions and achingly familiar moments of childhood nostalgia. This is a pamphlet that refuses to pull its punches and will linger like a bruise long after reading.
- Dr. Jack McGowan, Senior Lecturer at University of Worcester
'Writing The Truth' is rich, experimental and above all, brutal. A stellar debut collection, Guerreiro Lourenço is bold in his address of mammoth but intimate issues, making for an autobiographical narrative stitched together with clever and precise techniques. Lourenço manipulates form and language alike, borrowing from a mother tongue the power of which is compounded by the crisp figurative terms he introduces throughout the work, too. This is a collection I want to spend more time with, for the purpose of cracking it down to its core and pulling out the meanings, of which there are many, and varied. Finally, there is bravery in this book, sitting neatly alongside talent - heaps of it.
- Dr. Charley Barnes, author of suspense novel 'Sincerely, Yours'
An astonishing collection. Guerreiro Lourenço writes with a transcendent honesty about the brutality of family relationships - Dark islands of regret and loss mapped, as if, onto discarded burger wrappers and old school books. But at the heart of this collection we see a meditation on the fragility of happiness, the terror of having and holding onto love. There is a fragile hope.
- Dr. Mark Ellis, Lecturer at The Open University
About the Author
Miguel Guerreiro Lourenço is a Portuguese writer, narrative designer and poet, currently living in the cold, but homely North of England. He has been previously published by Selcouth Station Press, Rhythm & Bones, Foxglove Journal, Signal Mountain Review, Idle Ink and others. Hip-Hop, pastural landscapes, slam poetry and a Hispanic background all play major roles in his influences that shape his work into raw, conversational and vivid poetry. When he is not musing through chapbooks like these, Miguel spends his time cuddling his dog, Stella, and his wife, Steph, in approximately equal proportions. Videogames, fantasy book series, shows and Dungeons & Dragons fill his other hours of the day, while he still attempts to juggle the nuances of productivity and the projection of self-worth in his craft, as best he can.
Page numbers: 28
Publication date: June 2022
Cover art & design: Ruth Stacey