Horse Dance Underwater
Helena Mesa was born and raised in Pittsburgh to Cuban parents. She holds an M.F.A. from the University of Maryland and a Ph.D. from the University of Houston. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Barrow Street, Bat City Review, Indiana Review, Poet Lore, and Third Coast. She is currently co-editing a collection of essays, Mentor & Muse: From Poets to Poets. She lives in Ann Arbor and is an assistant professor of English at Albion College.
“‘Everything beautiful occurs when the body / is suspended,’ Helena Mesa quotes a performance artist who hangs his own pierced body in the air. Mesa’s poems are artfully suspended between lyric and narrative, between humans and animals, between Latin America and the U.S., between desire and the difficulty of its fulfillment. Horse Dance Underwater is an inventive, musical, and powerful debut.” –Mark Doty
“The poems in Helena Mesa’s virtuosic first book, Horse Dance Underwater, run with such speed, verve, and alacrity they leave you breathless, exhilarated, and transformed as if the purest kind of song had lifted you into the air. By this quickness of language finding lyric speech, Mesa’s poems remind us of art’s joyous and ecstatic effects.” –Michael Collier
“‘The world tilts in strange guises. Behold these, love these,’ Helena Mesa writes at the end of a long journey. I am moved by her notes to saints, by the way she limns the distance between strangers by her quest for a sacred grove. There is a deep aura of solitude in this splendid first book.” –Edward Hirsch
Cleveland State University Poetry Center
Mesa, Helena, "Horse Dance Underwater" (2009). CSU Poetry Center Books. 136.