BY VIRGINIA SLACHMAN
World of Mortal Light
In his “Ars Poetica,” Czeslaw Milosz aspires to “a more spacious form . . . free from the claims of poetry or prose.” This is the liberated, indeterminate space Virginia Slachman’s words inhabit in this uncommon book of humble devotions and enchantments fringed with dread. Situated somewhere at the edge of the here-world and the there-world, the poet notes “many darknesses are separating themselves” as she registers and grapples with the various signs of light. Slachman creates an atmosphere of irreality populated with real-world things, where cool detachment betrays ancient ache, lyricism mates with philosophy, and the future is unsteady as memory. What we can count on in this ultimately edifying journey is Slachman’s tough humanity, and her naming for us of those hard-to-reach places, where we might have stumbled trying to return on our own.
The Artist as Mystic
In her new book, World of Mortal Light, Virginia Slachman suggests that the art of poetry is “a thing made of paint and mind.” Indeed, in long, musical lines she vividly paints the “real world,” which is, she tells us, “a world of concept, still.” We find in “The Origin of the Work of Art,” for example, Heidegger, Van Gogh, and the poet’s dog Lily, a “little brown being in the dirt.” Slachman moves with remarkable skill from one to another—philosopher, artist, animal—in a richly textured poetry that invites us, also, to contemplate “how the world worlds.”
Excerpt from Review
Heidegger’s Temple offers layers of metaphor, exquisitely composed, that beckon us to ponder new ideas and complex states of feeling as sensuous discoveries, freshly illumined philosophic landscapes where order doesn’t depend on the centrality of the human. Slachman is not content with art as allusion merely; instead she imaginatively inhabits a given sensibility, making that way of seeing palpable. The artist most deeply alive in this collection is Rainer Maria Rilke; his tragic sense of death as life’s most basic process fits well with Slachman’s edgier voice and her vigilant resistance to unearned harmonies.
Inside Such Darkness
Virginia Slachman, Inside Such Darkness
If some books try to imitate the world and others merely listen to it, Virginia Slachman's second collection actively confronts what she calls "the August-heat, rolled-down-windows, drive-by bitch of a life." Inside Such Darkness is an ardent collection of prayers, arguments, and pointed questions. Slachman's approach is bold and unrelenting, her rhythms vibrant with the energy of thought. "It takes work to see," she tells us, and her fierce engagement with the reality of loss and the limited consolations we are offered gives these poems a brilliance that cuts through the dark.
Read Individual Poems
“Blue Hand” - Click Here to Read
“Lighthouse Church of Deliverance”
“Brutal Materials” - Click Here to Read
Barnwood 2011 - Click Here to Read
“Vital Signs” “One Hard Truth”
“Missing Geographies” “Hyperopia”
Mudlark 2010 - Click Here to Read
“Coach of Black Water”
2River.org 2011 - Click Here to Read
“The Usefulness of Stars”
2River.org - Click Here to Read
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