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Stunning poems of obsession, loss, and the desire for a renewed self, from the award-winning poet
“I thought I had left behind the darkness / of the heart,” Arvio confesses in the poem “Small War.” The love Arvio traces in these pages is indeed a battle, one in which the best-laid plans are shattered. Rarely has a poet tackled intimate love with so much invention and bravery.
In poem after poem, we meet the troubling lover whose nearness and force undoes her. There are moments of reprieve: “my naked body and budding pleasure / in the weather of your presence. / Not whether your presence but how.” The voice is vulnerable, self-knowing, often funny; the poet seems to be writing these poems to save herself from a devastating passion. Her weapons are a cascade of brash, freely spoken lines and a powerful command of metaphor, wielded in a search for meaning and understanding.
These breathtaking love poems make the collection Arvio’s most universal to date.
About the Author
SARAH ARVIO, the author of night thoughts: 70 dream poems & notes from an analysis, Sono: cantos, and Visits from the Seventh, and the translator of Federico García Lorca (Poet in Spain), is a recipient of the Rome Prize and the Bogliasco and Guggenheim Fellowships, among other honors. For many years a translator for the United Nations in New York and Switzerland, she has taught poetry at Princeton and Columbia. She lives in New York City.
“These poems are an ode to the heart . . . The intimate love described is at times all desire and physical affection, until it becomes disconnection or violence, with an underlying theme of control over a woman . . . Arvio’s voice is witty and wise, candid and calculated. Although the poems can read like streams of consciousness, each is distinct, worthy, and shaped with skill and inventiveness.” —Janet St. John, Booklist