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If Not Winter

It’s a book I’ve fingered thru, even carried around bookstores, but in the end, hadn’t bought.

If Not Winter
The stepped light. The aching. Fragmentary.

And deckle-cut pages. That physical touch alone brings me back decades, whispered privacy of written and read thought.

If Not Winter
Finally some moments of morning with Anne Carson’s translation, Fragments of Sappho.

The side text in Greek could say or be anything yet there’s an authenticity by being present. It adds weight to the social contract of meaning conveyed.

It sits like a photo to glance at as you read a letter from the same person. Rationally, disconnected in time. Connected but searching the face will yield nothing of the now but figments. p. 12


Some concepts and phrases slide past my default resistance against anything I read — this idea to rid yourself of someone by breathing someone out, for instance. p. 115

you will go your way among dim shapes. Having been breathed out.

If Not Winter
Such image and cadence. Powerful and yet not tripping the breaker panels as overwhelming. Yet rich enough to have to read only bits at a time and set away again.

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  1. Upon completion, rather a case of diminishing returns. The proportion of pages with only one word or phrase increased as one went along. I like p. 120, “I am not someone who likes to wound/rather I have a quiet mind” and p. 138 “stand to face me beloved/and open out the grace of your eyes”

    The end notes are substantial. Most interesting is the preservation of fragments by grammarians who just wanted to point out how noun declensions work, or some other cross-purpose of the original intent.

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