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Calling the Names, Poems by Mark Saba
In Calling the Names Mark Saba finds cues of the universal in anonymous encounters. He reconciles the "loose ends" of echoes from the past with the "painstakingly familiar"; During a five-hour train ride he prefers to read the lives that pass by on the other side of the window rather than a book. He finds himself in the balance between heaven and earth, the known and the unknown, in a book rich with the lyrical details of his observations about the human condition.
"A windsock enclosing moments of life as elusive as the wind that cannot be contained, Mark Saba’s Calling the Names is anchored by lines with artfully knotted phrases that try to hold life, even if ultimately nothing but memory endures. The work is framed by consistent emphasis on these elusive moments, as he feels 'a stammering heart, aware that it contains a finite number of beats.' Creating a lyrical kaleidoscope shifting with the rhythm of breathing and beating of the heart, Saba employs metaphor to form complex transformations. He uses lines and stanzas to juxtapose silence and language as he records the 'lost voice' of lives relegated to the back pages of newspapers with 'songs without words, muffled but for this pen.' Saba is not afraid to examine 'the sting of life' but finds hard won joy even though he knows that he will swing from 'love to solitude again.' This is an important collection, and a necessary one, because Saba ties disparate experiences together with his overarching vision in moving and compassionate poems that create the bridge between life and death we all will cross."--Vivian Shipley
Mark Saba is the author of Painting a Disappearing Canvas (poems) and The Landscapes of Pater (fiction) as well as other works of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. He also creates poetry videos and paints.