cover image Geometry of Shadows

Geometry of Shadows

Giorgio de Chirico, trans. from the Italian by Stefania Heim. A Public Space, $15 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-0-9982675-4-8

Admired by poets Sylvia Plath and John Ashbery, Scuola Metafisica cofounder de Chirico was known primarily as a painter who influenced surrealism and had a penchant for the neoclassical. Here, though, Heim has assembled the first English-language collection of de Chirico’s poems, including short, fragmentary lyrics; long, dense poems of considerable complexity; and prose pieces that resemble autofiction and flash stories. As this intriguing book demonstrates, de Chirico was committed to inter-genre thought and practice, what he called “that/ sacred temple where two Goddesses hold/ hands: true Poetry and true Painting.” De Chirico’s voice is worldly and roving, “Winter will come loosely dressed with a Browning/ in the pocket of its trousers,” and the modernity of Paris gives “the impression of being in a giant jack-in-the-box; of finding oneself before the open curtain of a marvelous theater.” At its best, de Chirico’s writing is unified by a surprising sense of history, humanity, and a baroque absurdity: “One day I too will be man of marble/ Widowed husband on the Etruscan sarcophagus.” While some of the work reads more like diary entries, this is an interesting window into the life of an important and unusual artist. (Oct.)