74 pages, 4.5" x 7"
Publication Date: 5 Mar 2016
Oil and Candle traces imagined rituals, failed rituals, and magical objects of Santería in confronting issues of race, warfare, and the precarity of Latino lives. Object-oriented, Oil and Candle localizes biographical, theoretical, and imagined content in a Limpias oil and an Abrecaminos prayer candle (or velón). It is as much a confrontation of racism in poetry as it is a torch-song to cultures inherited and not necessarily lived.
*Oil and Candle was selected as the winner of Timeless, Infinite Light's 2015 TRACT Contest from an exceptionally strong pool of entries by guest judges Brittany Billmeyer-Finn, Cheena Marie Lo, and Syd Staiti.
Praise for Oil and Candle
"When I exist, / I am complicit.” Opening Oil and Candle I found myself poured into a whispering ceremonial basin. Ojeda-Sague wields reverence and perceptivity like a sudden dusting of snow in a too warm winter. His honest rhythm, the posture of his questing will rip through you the way that a photograph develops in a darkroom.
Oil and Candle does the syncretic work of shining slant light on our endings/beginnings. This kind of tricksterism opens passage for communication beyond the limits of our oppressive orthodoxies- poetic and otherwise. Included in this book are cleansing spells to help clear our paths- “limpias of poets who have never been scared just of/ walking around in the world/ limpias of poets who trust the police/ limpias of poets who poison the apple/ limpias of poets who still trust irony”. This text is not simply about Ojeda-Sague at a crossroads. It is you, me… all of us who share in bodies that can be found there. Let’s look into each other’s faces with the light Gabriel provides, in all its queer ritual brilliance.
Gabriel Ojeda-Sague's poems, to borrow a phrase from Robert Hayden, are 'wild, patterned, and free.' The language is restless; it leaps and alights in surprising ways. A ghost calls on a landline and 'time/ opens its clouds.' Paradoxically, the non-linear unfolding of sense and music allows Ojeda-Sague to craft a vivid matrix of patterns: identity, rituals, queerness, citizenship, and war. At the heart of this matrix is a voice --discerning and serendipitous -- that moves from intimate telling to a gorgeous torquing of syntax and line. The aesthetic freedom fueling Oil and Candle is exhilarating. All language is at play for Ojeda-Sague, which allows him to score the page with multiple tongues and registers. Oil and Candle is a remarkable and searing book. A must-read.
Eduardo C. Corral
Gabriel Ojeda-Sague is a Latino queer Leo living in Philadelphia, PA. His first collection, Oil and Candle (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2016), is a set of writings on Santería, war, and the precarity of Latino-American lives. He is also the author of the chapbooks JOGS (2013), a re-writing of The Joy of Gay Sex, Nite [Chickadee]’s (GaussPDF 2015), a collection of Cher’s tweets on systematic racism and violence, and Where Everything is in Halves (Be About It, 2015), poems against death through The Legend of Zelda.