Monday, November 3, 2008

Keep What I Give You

I recently received four beautiful gifts from poet Vassilis Zambaras: a copy of his book, Sentences, published in 1976 by Querencia Books in Seattle and printed in a limited keepsake edition of 300 copies in Athens, Greece; his book, Aural, published in 1984 by Singing Horse Press in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, in a small hand-sewn limited edition; his simple four-page Triptych, published in London in 2005 as part of the Kater Murr’s Press Piraeus Series; and finally the following incredibly beautiful poem from his unpublished third collection, The Intricate Evasions of As, released by Kater Murr’s Press in a plain white card edition (1998) of 200 copies.

          Keep what I give you
          a covenant

          we shall inherit
          the unimaginable

          immaculate loneliness
          of galaxies.

As I told Vassilis when I wrote to thank him, these books and printings are real treasures — especially for the musically profound yet simple poems they contain, but also as carefully designed objects that serve as proud, tangible evidence of an artist’s brief time here on earth. Books like this bring me hope and inspiration. They take me back to the beginning of my own dream and desire to make something real and of lasting value. They remind me how lucky I am to be a writer and a poet, and that as poets, we must be givers and bringers of light:

          Poetry Lesson

          And yet, we know something of bitterness —
          this draining out of love in syllables
          teaches us, among other things, silence
          and how to talk our way around it.

                                                  — From Sentences

Image: Aural, by Vassilis Zambaras; cover by Binney and Ronaldson (click to enlarge).

Note: Sentences cover design by Robyn Tarbet; Triptych artwork by Leslie Buchanan.

The poet’s blog: Vazambam.

In the Forum: non-violent cookbooks.

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