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which, from my vantage, seems apropos, given his different aims and vocal strategies? With Luca, the presence of the body returns within a concise language rooted in homonymic resonance — as savage and playful as they come. I turn to several poems in Self-Shadowing Prey with some notes that may be of interest.

In Luca’s “The Forest,” verbal alchemy displaces what we might expect when encountering a forest, substituting for any immediate perception — the depth and expanse of trees, the chatter of birds, the sound of the wind — an execution: a tree that captures the forest, this “forest hung from a tree,” which in itself is curious but not unexpected, then “hides the tree from the hanged man/and the hanged man in the tree.” What “crimes” lead Luca to envision this tree in this fashion? Violent but not sadistic, for what in nature is so human, Luca uses what the forest gives him — a tree that roots but now from a dark, truncated interiority that inseminates, within each word, a moral tempest and final linguistic regicide; the murder of the word “KING.” And yet, in this poem the “forest” breathes and shudders and shifts, an underlying, heterogeneous senescent “edge … without beginning or end.” In “The Resisting Whirlwind,” signification is precise yet evident meaning conflates, as expressions slip in and out of each other, creating and subduing the movements that a whirlwind provokes. In this poem, the mobility of the whirlwind becomes a double pretense: “the perfectly immobile” and the “strangely mobile.” The two intersect and compel, commanding and obeying, just as the poem enwraps us within its movements and then becomes what we, its readers, will make of it. Yet the whirlwind of words that Luca composes in his room, in the room of the poem and the room depicted in the poem, this poem room, whose corners compress this whirlwind, is fixed to the sensibility of the wind, and its winding and unwinding, in pretense and not, moves us with it.

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Profile for Contra Mundum Press

Gherasim Luca Centenary Issue  

Essays and reflections in English and French on Romanian surrealist Gherasim Luca, including Luca's own texts and art. Also featuring rumi...

Gherasim Luca Centenary Issue  

Essays and reflections in English and French on Romanian surrealist Gherasim Luca, including Luca's own texts and art. Also featuring rumi...

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