Friday, January 27, 2012

The Lamp with Wings: love sonnets by M.A. Vizsolyi

The Lamp with Wings
love sonnets
by M.A. Vizsolyi

Harper Perennial
New York, NY
Copyright © 2011 by M.A. Vizsolyi
ISBN: 978-0-06-206901-6
Softbound, 63 pages, $13.99

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

This book was selected as one of the 2010 National Poetry Series winners, the one selected by poet Ilya Kaminsky and it presents to us the love sonnet in a way that
Galileo or Copernicus presented the solar system to an unprepared world.

When we think of love sonnets we immediately focus on Shakespeare, but Vizsolyi writes love sonnets the way Shakespeare could never have imagined. Perhaps the way J.S. Bach could not have imagined Philip Glass, though connections between the two composers can be hear, the line from one poet to the other can be read.

[hello little one I no longer glue] is one example:

hello little one I no longer glue
the starfish together with direct &
understandable sadness if you want that
go to mcdonald’s where the
romantics supersize everything
if you want the flower which will
walk with you & bear your pain
I recommend angela’s on 3rd she has
such nice flowers there the daffodils
are in & narcissus will barely
raise his head to meet you such
a beautiful girl if I gave you the
heavens you’d tear down the roof such
a beautiful girl if I gave you sea
stars you’d skip them like stones

Love sonnet you say? Absolutely and Vizsolyi notes at the end of the book that the spirit of his wife, Margarita Delcheva’s spirit dances through every poem. So it does. You will find many references to her – without name. For example:

when we find it in the river
without realizing its weight
& you will look at me & I at you
from:[in the heart of pennsylvania there]

Or from [I imagine the knocking of your hooves]

about the cat with a wooden leg who
ran out of the house to save
your life the seventh knock on
the wall was hers the dead are not lonely

What makes Vizsolyi’s love sonnets compelling is a combination of sight and sound. The poems have no punctuation so whether you read them silently, or out loud, you provide the stops and starts. There is also a one & one-half line spacing which also affects your reading and, course no capital letters, only an occasional apostrophe will do for him. Then add the bracketed titles which are always the first line of the sonnet, unexpected language, images, metaphors, and you a poem which shakes you to the core of what you think a sonnet is supposed to be. Forget Petrarch, Shakespeare, or other sonnet writers who you have read in the classical mode. Instead, experience Vizsolyi as you might any writer who has creativity and the willingness to put it out there for readers to absorb.

Kaminsky says, “This book will knock your socks off. This is real poetry.” I agree.

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