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Swann's Way
Marcel Proust, Lydia Davis
Norman Rush
The Unknown University
Roberto Bolaño, Laura Healy
Postmodern Belief: American Literature and Religion since 1960 (20/21)
Amy Hungerford
The Fun Stuff: And Other Essays
James Wood
Commentaries and Citations - Juan Gelman

The names, St. Teresa or St. John of the Cross, are indicated after most of these poems, as the poems “spring from the author’s readings” (says the translator) of these saints and other long-gone mystics. Now, I’m not much on this ‘saint’ business, because, frankly, I can only spend so many minutes of the day being one—five, maybe ten minutes, but when it’s all said and done, I’m rarely saintly, and then not for a very long period of time. In any case:

citation XXIX (saint teresa)
singular love so soft
it enlarges the uncowardly soul / like
a desolate unsunning of you / fever of you /
silence of you filled with your voices /

a compression of me giving way to
a soul full of sun / as after
a storm that fell into silence / children
that uncried their grieving / or a grief

that lost its name through desire /
deliciously wounded by
your operation of love / fire kindled
like sorrow no longer sorrowing
Which is not to say that I can’t wonder about the saintlike.

This one I liked for an entirely selfish and irrelevant reason. C’mon, children, this is a test. See if you can find that solitary moment of self-indulgence writ large.

commentary LV (homero manzi)
in the corner of recollections
alive with you / or akin to you /
motherland that fills everything
with light like sweetness / like shade

that could be explained by the soul
moving toward darkness / safe /
without having sadness leak out
like some dense reality

onto the thatchings of the voice /
or like a roof / like a puma
that has eaten its memory
to keep it from doing you harm / or

from the solamenting you half
as much where you grow like
the never of unbitterness or
a meadow of light or a face like

freedom bathing in the sun /
putting tiny nevers in my hand
to build another road where i
with fondness might reach you
So there you are, and there I am, harmless and forgetful, sharing an author I’ve come to like, although, truth told, I may have been reading Gelman too quickly or too many volumes back to back. This one didn’t quite lead to the exuberance of the first two I read, but I won’t dock this one any stars for faults that are largely, and almost always, my own.