Speaking in Tongues

Maurya Simon, Author Peregrine Smith Books $9.95 (51p) ISBN 978-0-87905-082-5
More ambitious and abstruse than Simon's Days of Awe , this volume is set in an abstract netherworld in which the poet gauges the effects of language, love and God upon our lives. In ``Origins,'' the first of the two long poems that make up the book, Simon conjures a primordial age in which the first scribe, a woman, gives birth to language, endowing existence with meaning by using words to name objects, images and emotions. Simon then wonders whether we ``wrote ourselves into the world'' to ``defy our own mortality'' or to ``merge ourselves with that simple- / minded psyche some call God.'' The poet skillfully mixes the concrete metaphors of the primeval theme with metaphysical imagery. In the second poem, ``Spellbound: An Alphabet,'' Simon states that ``All language is a masquerade''; the words we hide behind are unable to give utterance to our constant awareness of loneliness and ``the hugeness of each death.'' Love, too, according to Simon, is another ruse by which we try to hide from the truth. p. 32 Simon's luminous way of perceiving thoughtfully leads readers through the dark mysteries of existence. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
Genre: Fiction
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