cover image The Plurality of Worlds of Lewis

The Plurality of Worlds of Lewis

Jacques Roubaud. Dalkey Archive Press, $9.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-56478-069-0

Writing as a poet-philosopher, Roubaud, who teaches mathematics at University of Paris, casts a delicate net of language to apprehend ideas that most compel him. Here, as in Some Thing Black, he struggles with the premature death of his wife. Attempting to relate in some metaphysical equation the dead with the living, Roubaud posits that there are many, simultaneous worlds (the rather awkward title is based on philosopher David Lewis's book, On the Plurality of Worlds). He tries to place his wife's nothingness within his realm of experience, exploring his own intimate, contradictory states of consciousness-pain, memory, daily routine-and the branching realities they suggest. The poems of the first two selections are filled with play of light and shadows, and define loss as if metered by questions, suppositions and impossibilities. The third section is a long prose poem in which he considers the idea of form as it exists in his own body, in the ``grey-in-itself'' void of all objects, and in the signficance of an empty notebook. Precisely measured and deeply moving, Roubaud's meditations are rendered in Waldrop's translation with force and nuance. (Mar.)