the desire to meet with the beautiful
Tender Buttons Press, 2003
In her new collection of poems the desire to meet with the beautiful, India Radfar remarks, “I am growing more precise: words are demanding/ more precision of me.” Her reader’s encounter with the fruit of this awareness is a happy one; the pared down language and compact composition of the desire to meet with the beautiful makes the book precious in the best sense of the word, a tiny treasure trove of gems like “the opposite/ of a fruit tree is not a tree without fruit” and “the return should be sweet...a lightning maybe; a complicated flower.
on rich shards of language and imagery from
Radfar sees herself as a collector; gleaning from a variety of landscapes—dreams and forests, caves and gardens—she carefully chooses words that “hold flowers/ form muscle/ were beautiful to swallow.” Radfar’s reader, inexorably drawn into her precisely rendered dreams and objects, will similarly find herself swallowing Radfar’s “thick imagined leaves” and “words fruit water,” the pleasurable products of her unique poetics of distillation.
Radfar begins and ends Mirza’s Cave with the words of yogi Allama Prabhu, who writes, “looking for your light,/ I went out:/ it was like the sudden dawn/ of a million million suns...O Lord of Caves,/ if you are light,/ there can be no metaphor.” This dazzling encounter both constitutes our final moment in Mirza’s Cave and points us back to Radfar’s language with renewed appreciation for the way that her own encounter with the dazzling has “purified” her language, allowing it to express the inexpressible with sublimely crafted words that are at once hard and intensely evocative.
intense consciousness of the relationship(s) between language and control
permeates the work; amidst shards of love and longing, one of her speakers
knowingly entreats, “don’t let the masculine/ rise and take control of
techniques of compression create faultlines, spaces
where absence signifies as much as presence; “words hide within lines/ lines
create disappearances—.“ A heterogeneous hoard of myth, word, and
the desire to meet with the beautiful is an intensely pleasurable collection, a diverse and wonderfully conscious litany of light and desire. Radfar’s ability to craft tangible space with her pungent, precise language creates a unique experience for her readers, an experience that Radfar herself can best illuminate: “receiving the meaning again and again...without any repetition./ the result is the object in the memory/ the presence of the text...the resonance...the transition to the beautiful.”
Roeder earned her BA in English from