The Buried Breath announces the arrival of a striking new voice and poetic talent. With formal ease and a sharply engaged sense of ethical inquiry, these lucid, lyrical poems delve into art and history, remembered lives and contemporary conflicts, for illumination and insight. Featuring vivid portrayals of love, desire, grief, and mourning, the collection is hauntingly sensitive to time’s passage, and to the sometimes fragile solaces of its craft – as its supple translations from Catullus, Virgil, and Machado, and its sensually immersive array of ekphrastic pieces attest.
Paying tribute to emblematic figures of world literature, including Miklós Radnóti, murdered in 1944 after the fascist take-over of Hungary, and Otto René Castillo, brutally killed by Guatemalan government forces in 1967, the collection also responds to questions of violence, persecution, and moral commitment in the present day – in resonant pieces such as “Death of a Refugee” and “Postcards from Palestine”. And yet, these poems remain as alive to the possibilities of redemption and praise they intuit – “flung to the world / in a veer of blue” – as to the realities of suffering they behold.