Enragingly delicate, sure-footedness of expression, pulsating with incandescence, with utterances that stun. To read Mikael de Lara Co’s poetry is to enter a quiet hallway illumined by the pure light of language. Listen: “... Deprived of consonants our griefs all sound/ the same. As if from a single heart. As if throbbing against the knowledge/ of leaves.” Co declares that the task of poetry is to never run out of words. Now I am rummaging for synonyms for “envy.” Yes, I am bitter. Yes, goddamit, I am jealous.
—Lourd De Veyra
One makes claims in poetry because we have memory, history, and reason to test their weight against. In this collection of poems, Mikael de Lara Co’s first, phenomena get inspected, interrogated, and put under the lens of meditation and rigorous philosophical thought. Grit and tenderness coat Co’s lyric, guide the inflections of language and locate their gradations where they should be: between speech and song, discourse and remark, bone and skin. Where lies feeling but in our ambivalence toward it? “I want to find beauty in suffering/ I want to fail,” the poet writes. It is in Co's willingness to admit and articulate such failings that we find this book’s valor, generosity, and—ultimately—grace. at logic always finds its way into affect is, indeed, what passes for answers in a world so often devoid of them.
—Joel M. Toledo
What Passes for Answers is a book without artifice, devoid of poetic pyrotechnics and self-indulgence… a collection imbued with classical rigor, elegant construction, lyrical provocation, and thoughtful revelation that gives voice to the artist’s truth-telling imperatives.
—Manuel L. Quezon III
Published in 2013.