Despite the book’s title, these poems are rarely autobiographical and have few straightforward stories to tell. They puzzle over accidents, coincidences, and codes, as they describe journeys and wonders, edging towards a sense of the world’s curious strangeness, the complications of what we call history, the contretemps of geography. The poems belong to a hemisphere of the imagination that encompasses the narratives of 19th-century travelers and 20th-century anthropologists, spy movies, astronomical lore, the writings of Saint-John Perse and Henri Michaux, and the music of Erik Satie. They balance on the edge between concealment and revelation, between fascination and comprehension. For these poems, every sentence is a kind of translation, and language is a series of riddles with no solutions, subtly humorous at one phrase, sinister at another, heartbroken at the next.
“It is fine, sensitive, fastidious… Some pieces are spare and surgical. Some initiate conversations that would be better finished off-page and in the company of friends and a lot of wine.”