Monday, October 25, 2010

Profane Uncertainties by Luis Raul Calvo, translated by Flavia Cosma

Profane Uncertainties
by Luis Raul Calvo, translated by Flavia Cosma
Cervena Barva Press
Somerville MA
Copyright © 2010 by Luis Raul Calvo
Softcover, $15, 45 pages

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

Argentina was the home of some great poets: Borges, Barbarito and Benitez. Now, thanks to Gloria Mindock and Cervena Barva Press and translator Flavia Cosma, we have a chance to read a poet every bit as good as any Argentine poet, Luis Raul Calvo, who sees the world not as utopian, not as hellish, but for what it is. His is a reality show of its own.

For example in the section entitled Lowest Depth of the Soul, poem XII tells us:

The man who sleeps today
In the middle of the road,
Once knew how to indulge
In the earthly pleasures

Once he loved submissive women,
Bought himself the finest liquors,
And squandered left and right
What belonged to him,
And what didn’t.
He lived as if wishing to negate the saying
That affirmed That nothing is eternal
In this life,

In times past,
Watching others sleeping on the pavement,
He would have said, loudly and firmly,
“They must have done something
to deserve their fate.”

These are words of the keen, observant eye, the writer who records what he sees and with
pen tells us bares the truth of the scene.

Then there were the days people used to say if you go far enough on the right, you are on the left and vice versa. Calvo’s take of this is:

Diffuse Limits

There is a plateau that separates
Words form gestures,
Hearts from pinciples,
Holiness from sins.

The diffused limits of love
Work out the differences

Calvo’s profoundness lies in his ability to take the complicated and make it simple; to take life and make it accessible. He is one of the poets who create their own language to explain life, who (to steal the concept of left and right in a circle) are so deep they are simple; so simple they are deep. I am left only with the impression that nothing of Calvo’s poetry is either profane or uncertain. Which leaves a bottom line: Calvo’s poetry is that the reader is left satisfied; the reader-poet inspired to write. Who needs more?

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