Intimate Letters comprises the seventh book of an ongoing long poem in prose called The Invisible World Is in Decline. Its title borrows from a string quartet by Leo Jánacek, a profoundly emotional piece written late in the composer’s life when he had fallen in love with a younger woman. It also points towards the intimacy of letters themselves, the visible pieces that make up language. This collection begins with love poems, then moves to a section (“Wretched in This Alone”) dominated by loss. The “Invisible Ghazals” which follow take language and emotions more deeply into a sense of dispossession, a landscape of the heart characterized by feeling unmoored. “Desire,” the final poem, and the only piece in conventional poetic lines, attempts to rescue the heart from bleakness by proposing that passion does survive even the most difficult and demanding experiences, and “runs through our days like / music.”
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