Guatemalan artist Luis Gonzalez Palma has gained widespread recognition over the past decade for his photo-based portraits that are rich with the symbolism of indigenous myth and culture, Catholicism, and humanity. The figures that inhabit Gonzalez Palma's mythic world-angels, devils, hybrid creatures, and enigmatic characters-transcend time and place, suggesting that mysticism and beauty are his ultimate subject matter. He has said, "I live in a country where there is mysticism and violence at the same time- where you are enjoying nature and the helicopters are flying overhead to bomb some region; where you know that as you are working, someone is being killed or someone is being baptized." Yet Palma's landscape is not that of Guatemalan politics, but that of the soul, portrayed in both its beauty and its sorrow.
Poems of Sorrow is the first major monograph on Luis Gonzalez Palma. Accompanying the plates is an insightful essay by John Wood. Selected as one of the fifty outstanding book designs of 1999 by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA)
"In his pictures, (Gonzalez Palma's subjects) assume the mantles of myth and spirituality-angels' wings, devils' horns, crowns of thorns or roses, halos-while remaining stubbornly, solidly human, and it's this marriage of the soulful and the earthy that gives the work its wide popular appeal." -Village Voice
"Like poems, Gonzalez Palma's images unfold with increasing significance, resulting in an underlying sense of tension and foreboding that is only slightly eased by their sheer loveliness." -Library Journal