The Duration of the Voyage/La Duracion del Viaje: Selected Poems

Luisa Futoransky, Author, Jason Weiss, Editor Junction Press $11 (96p) ISBN 978-1-881523-07-9
An exile with a deep nostalgia for a coherent, linear past, Futoransky is paradoxically at home in a world of fluid, sometimes tormented global identities. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Futoransky, who writes in Spanish, has lived in Israel, Japan, China, Spain and elsewhere in Europe. In her first English-language collection spanning eight volumes over 25 years, she exhibits a magical-realist fecundity that transforms itself to suit each new locale. In ""To Trujilo, with Love,"" she finds ""virgins showing off/ little artichokes/ like delightful trophies of their majesty."" Paris, where she has lived since 1981, offers a sparser, more alienated set of poetic anchors. ""Insomnia on the Rue De Charenton,"" only seven lines long, is a list of ""the friendly noises that unknown inhabitants offer me,"" including, understatedly, ""the milk man at 4:15"" and ""the lover setting out/ the scavengers going through the trash bins."" Some poems stop in Kiso, Japan, and a long, elegiac prose-poem entitled ""Jerusa, My Love"" tracks ""the injustices/ the stratifications, the wells"" of Israel's fractious metropolis. Other prose-poems allow Futoransky to freely plumb her abundant store of memories, Jewish mysticism and astringent self-reflections. ""The wandering jew sets off with her knapsack of baubles and trinkets,"" reports the wry speaker of ""End of the Poem,"" proceeding on a journey through which ""I shall forget... all the tongues and moans and mirages and backwaters and I shall move no more."" Beautifully translated from the Spanish provided en face, this collection seems only to suggest the riches of this writer's peripatetic explorations. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
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