In The Acquiescent Villa, Paula Closson Buck writes the way Picasso paints—with slanted angles of approach and departure that give us the human heart passionately at work. A restless explorer of the world as body, the body as world, she is acutely aware of the ways in which language creates and sustains these spheres, bringing them sometimes into collision, sometimes into balance. Her poems are journeys into marriage and memory via ship or the body’s furious train—to Spain, to Germany, to the Turkish baths, to the corner store for bread.
In making such journeys, Closson Buck yokes the intimate and the social so deftly that one hardly realizes what she has done. So that while the speaker of “The Turkish Baths” thinks of becoming “again personal, like anyone afraid a dream will come to nothing,” the connection to history and to place that she longs for is already there, in the making and the language. In images as sumptuous as they are surprising, in voyages navigated by sensual touch and oblique eye, the poet gives us the far world brought near.
With elegant diction, an acute sense of the line, an honest and compelling struggle to know, to feel, to balance conflicting desires, this premiere collection offers compelling and mature work.
Paula Closson Buck , author of The Acquiescent Villa, teaches creative writing at Bucknell University and is editor of the literary magazine West Branch. She lives with her family in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
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