Mario Petrucci’s anima

© Image by Jemimah Kuhfeld

© Image by Jemimah Kuhfeld

 
 
 
“Reminiscent of e.e. cummings at his best”, Mario Petrucci’s work is “vivid, generous and life-affirming” (Envoi).  His most recent poems, inspired by Black Mountain and hailed as “modernist marvels” (Poetry Book Society), embrace contemporary issues of profound social and personal relevance via a distinctive combination of innovation and humanity.  Through groundbreaking residencies, poetry films and a remarkable output of ecopoetry, his unique scientific sensibility has illuminated the linguistic as well as emotive resonances of love and loss in the public and private domains.  Whether exploring the tragedies of Chernobyl (Heavy Water, 2004) or immersing himself in heart-rending invention (i tulips, 2010), Petrucci aspires to “Poetry on a geological scale” (Verse).
 
 
 
 
anima 
 
 
 
“The thirty-nine poems of anima bring a distinctive, archetypal potency to the closing stages of Mario Petrucci’s larger i tulips project, the 1111-strong sequence in which this sub-sequence crucially sits.
 
Arising organically from prior modernist experiment, Petrucci’s style nevertheless remains utterly contemporary. His mastery of the shape and sound of each poem makes for an intense and all-consuming experience, refocusing an array of influences through an acute lyrical sensibility. By yielding so completely to the power of linguistic transformation, these searing, necessary poems capture both the crisis and the beauty of the heart’s innermost voyage.”
 
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
 
“Mario Petrucci’s anima is a revelation of the underside of a human heart submitting to the contradictions of love, doubt and mortality. This remarkable work reconfigures the soul as well as the mind, through language that shapes the ineffable into a visceral, triumphant poetry.”

– Alexandra Burack
 
 
 
“The tensile delicacy of Petrucci’s lines springs back with a very English baroque, Miltonic surprise: sense-ambush occurs in the next line, skewering what’s gone before.  Between these line-breaks rests a declamatory silence tested to snapping.  This is major work to cast shadows.”

– Álvaro de Campos, tr. Simon Jenner
 
 
 
“With a brio and tenderness all of their own, these new lyric poems are modernist marvels, word sculptures pared to their very essence… Petrucci’s tulips promise to grow into a truly ambitious landmark body of work.”

Poetry Book Society Bulletin, Spring 2010
 
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
 
the machine
 
 
step into the machine
they said
& we can take you back

undo each & all regret
the girls  the booze  that bank
I said

the catch?
that’s for you to choose  they said
just get in first &

take it
step by step  so I could have had  (I
mean could have)

Margaret?  no –
better than that  the clearest pearl you
never met  a flower

a-swirl in mead  but
hurry now  this power is
expensive  & what of illness?  mine?  no

need for that  you’ll be shown
where you mustn’t live  look – an open
door  sign

here (I cursed)  was she then
the one?  of many  friend  you mean
rather than the one I

took?  you’re sure?   oh
much more than you can know  so
meet that hearse

with a silken heart  take another
throw…(I’d one leg
in)  I said

&
what about
my son?

your son?  ah
– nothing to be done  nothing
we can do  but

there’ll be others  just like
him & not  unkilled  & he’ll never know
you know   nor you

I know
now  I said  (they began to fret  the floor
began to slide)  we need

answers  get
inside  don’t make this your biggest
yet   I

saw a face
somewhere still  at play  a door
swept shut

then
disappeared as I whispered
through air  distilled

I’ll stay
 
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
 
for Pablo Neruda (‘Tonight I Can Write…’)
 
 
because  i have
 
 
lost her  I hold her gaze in mine
who never loses  who sees me  under
the bone moon  bones in her eyes  daze

all love shown  in singlest glance  nothing
survives other than love  what eyes
steady behind a look  covered

recovered  as one loses a stone
generations passed  down on single
fingers  regenerations to regain her  I

found because I looked & all  gazing salt  who
think eyes that dance  lose  translating
flesh to other flesh  that thinned

mink a thumbtip brushed in her  small
of back or animal  between thighs made
heady muse  what is  never held I cannot

lose as oceans do not hold  the dolphin  ever
passing  through  I have her now who
passed in trueness  feel her

glide within as certain days  become
asides to time  as though I were that air  emp-
tied  leap–stunned over water  what waters   hide

after dolphins
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
 
room
 
 
within
none ever
walked through

walls
unpainted with chords
yellowed

beneath silt
& caught between brick
each ability

to weep
bedded in plaster to cover
notes as

if music
were indicant absence for
what

instruments
never express though this
covert man

is able
sat by a window black
with lateness

halved
in love for all quiets
he cannot

hear
quite pianissimo
through

night
artful with dawn all on
its brink

agape
with the next his very next
beat b-

rushing
that rim outermost in him
ever after

about to
return even as it burns
lock to

key
in the one his
undone

heart
 
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
 
anima  I
 
 
cannot write
her straight – this
man in whom straightness is

an arrow curving
its path : mere illusion
for lovers who plot where it arcs

I cannot know
her in this line I draw
back tauter than the string that lets

pain go or
the bow supple in its
bend yet ever prone to warp & send

off-true : so
how may I find a You
where speech is impossible unless

this skimming
of targets be the way
into speaking between a man &

that woman he
started with neither
mother nor wife but She he

squints at
clear through near
-sighted morning as if

her stroke
steady & precise
through him were

all
air ready
to be parted
 
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
 
O  anima
 
 
you ran
ahead when magma
was just a girl hurled along masculine

vertebrae to spill her tresses hotly orange
or part in pleasure there &
here her

many yellow
lipsticked mouths – you
blessed the pool where bacteria unthinking

Brownian ways through measured light chose
instead one day to walk &
continents

still fused
hip to shoulder you
smouldered on each southern bed dreamy

with depth & loosely loved where underwater
vents teethed in druse sent
upwards

plumed
biota as campfires do
by gloomy streams & even through reptilian

doom you grew patient for me as the Nile for
sand or that green-brown rind
on crocodiles

you waited
for sun & mind to grow me
with every journey hearse-to-crib become one

slow breath & now i breathe creation in
as though that oxygen were
easy on

these lungs
received through a look
fearlessly ancient from a creature formed

not of rib but water who found at last air &
fire or as bluish Earth in
all its seas

glares in love
upon airier blues or the air
-borne bird ever chooses to keep motionless

its egg or settles in the nest it makes itself
with delicate shivers to rest
within

that perfect
fit – though today i sleep &
skit so sense myself a swallow stalled &

brought too soon to ground who sees thus
calls to your sky moving on
above to

wait for me
 
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
 
for Hafez
 
 
how  our stars
 
 
fall to heaven not
up
from hell: twinned

flares unseen in op-
position
that dare cross them

selves across the sea
-through
moon in soundless omen

a quick amen in bodied sky
light
swells to bluest child these

plutonic cells uncurtailed
&
indivisibly double this

zygote afternoon that
brings
to hours made all

but ionic with
bright
electrics our

invisibly
parallel
filaments

of night
 
 
 
 
from anima (Nine Arches Press, 2013).
 
Order anima here and here.
 
Visit Mario’s website.
 
 
 
*

3 thoughts on “Mario Petrucci’s anima

  1. Pingback: Mario Petrucci's anima | Poetry News | Scoop.it

  2. roselle angwin

    As a long-term friend of Mario’s I read the typescript of ANIMA, and though I ‘got’ it it was at the time hard to find words to express the experience. This choosing, above, of a small handful of poems has allowed me to really experience the potency of the collection. Fine, profound, resonant work.

  3. peony moon Post author

    Hi Roselle,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the poem selection.

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