Review: ‘Venice’ by Ange Mlinko

by Ange Mlinko

Ange Mlinko’s poems are brought to life with an unusual combination of impulses. An intense and serious artisanal product with hard, smooth surfaces and intense interiors, the painting is highly polished. but yet formal very often recommend staid or measured, Mlinko’s poems are anything but. Wild, energetic, lively, useless catholics in their tropes, often downright talkative. Some have a postcard feel, especially in the opening lines. In Mlinko’s sixth collection, “Venice,” a poem begins with “The hotel showers were extraordinarily wasteful.” The next begins: “After the olivine waves of Marina di Torre del Lago/we drive through rows of umbrella pines.”

Elsewhere, the tone is more speculative philosophically: “During or around 1929 the character of dreams changed.” And sometimes it’s clear, it’s clear, it’s urgent. At the end of the book, a poem begins, “We don’t have much time.” The situation he goes on to describe is specific and direct, but as with many of Mlinko’s sentences, it’s impossible to ignore the second, shadowy meaning that looms over the first: we’re running out of time as a species, so we’re running out of time. it’s already too late. This anxiety is common in “Venice”. In poetry after poetry, everyday events produce dark, sometimes nightmarish implications. Take, for example, the following stanza from the poem “In the Nursery” by a herbalist:

“And what’s more, if the roots don’t dig
under the house and branch again
indoors through cracks in the foundation,
still doing damage
and history will bear witness
with myriad raised eyelids.”

A shift occurs halfway across the continent: Read these last three lines on their own, and they seem about something far more expansive and sinister than a potentially invasive backyard plant. In Mlinko’s universe, the small, humble things often symbolize the vastness, and our locally targeted, often haphazard, explanations — We don’t have much time, there is still damage – they often have an application far beyond their intended domain.

These cracked foundations, deteriorated and deteriorated by the endless efforts of botanical life, may remind us of Venice, a city built on unstable and unstable foundations, and therefore give us a clue about the title of the book. Faced with more and more storms and floods, and the damage wrought by the flood of tourists—tourists affected by the beauty they help destroy—Venice appears to be a symbol of all that is valuable and all that is threatened. , human life. In “Sleepwalking in Venice,” Mlinko seems to describe how, in the midst of his visit to that city, he found himself slipping into unreality:

… I struggled
cold, green voice announcing

It was as if it never existed. Yeah? Or because he went alone…
and I saw that I was not reflected anywhere,
a little lacking… vitamins…
like a vampire feeling your bones
who can’t find himself in the mirror…

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