Absence of the Loved
9781609642747, $16.00, www.blazevox.org
Many poems and poetry collections focus on the presence of love, but Absence of the Loved is about that aftermath where love is gone, poetically describing the void left behind, the process of passing into something else, and what happens when transformation and change confront a relationship: "This morning we were born for something else".
Winter mornings, maddened minds, the compulsive drives of love and passion, and possession all coalesce in passionate, emotional pieces that grasp the essence of not a light romantic dream, but the agony and ecstasy of bonding with another both physically and emotionally.
From the throes of breakup and pain ("When I'm not grieving I trumpet destruction") to the inevitable progress towards a turning point where grief turns to renewal, Absence of the Loved is a poetic breakup diary like no other, chronicling the intimate passage of days and pain with the deft precision of a romantic martyr as the writer considers the absence of one with a 'penchant for parting'.
Again and again the times before departure are analyzed and probed, the impetus for change considered, and the faded spark of love from which the inevitability of leaving reviewed: "One day I will go so you will at last understand/This simplest of lessons: everything flows."
How long will loss last when "what we are is made of half of each other's wholeness"? It may not be a lifetime, but these moments are perfectly captured in a poetic gathering of experiences that intricately chronicles just what the process of and pain of letting go involves.
However, "The Absence of The Loved" is not just about loss. Although it starts that way, there is a progression, and fans of poetry will appreciate the various depths and nuances of feeling. In the end the poet transfigures his loss into a vibrant, radiant presence. The young woman that he loved becomes a symbol for "the loved". In the moving final poem "You and You Again", the circle is closed, there is no more absence --- what remains is Amor.
Diane C. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
Donovan's Literary Services
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Wade Stevenson was born in New York City in 1945 and his first book Beds (McCall Publishing Co., 1970) was a poetry best seller. Other books followed, including The Little Book of He and She, Read more »
Congratulations to Daniel Borzutzky on winning the National Book award. Check out his BlazeVOX The Ecstasy of Capitulation Daniel Borzutzky here: http://www.blazevox.org/
"Daniel Borzutzky’s poems bespeak an amazing grasp of current nounage that the writer skillfully employs to achieve a piercing social and political critique. Little of current or recent history has immunity. Richard Milhous Nixon, Ronald Reagan, the matter of requisite allegiance to sexuality, linguistics, even leek soup, serve as springboards to a greater revelation brought about by the ruthlessly comic clarity of Borzutzky’s eyes and ears. The writer plants the spotlight on speakers of the poem who do not know that they can plead the Fifth. Yet even in his most successfully sardonic observations, Borzutzky never merely points the finger. In a virtuosic display of rhetoric, these speakers self-reveal, self-incriminate, and in so doing, take us down with them. For Borzutzky consistently brings to the poem the recognition that his subject is not restricted to these few isolated others, but, at root, to all of us. Joining its best-of-genre companions, The Ecstasy of Capitulation provides scathing critique of culture amid an underlying self-effacement that holds itself responsible and consistently depicts a sense of caring. Borzutzky’s is the honest intellect we have been waiting for, to show us what we are."
- Sheila E. Murphy
“After I first read Daniel Borzutzky’s poems in magazines, I became a hellhound on his trail, pursuing him over the oceans (he was in Turkey at the time) until I ran him to earth and shook more poems out of him. I wanted my students to read those poems and to write like Borzutzky, yeah, but, more importantly, to think like him. There’s a divine foolishness to these poems, a knuckleheaded clarity that allows the poet to ask “Are Nudists Nuts? (the question of our time, to my way of thinking) and to say “We approve of intersections but are opposed to streets in general” and “Out with mayors, in with majordomos” and “We have too many potholes. They should be filled with violets, or ideas.” The title of this book not only describes it but recommends it—far too many poetry books today are about the capitulation of ecstasy. I love these poems. Daniel Borzutzky for president.”
- David Kirby