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Sono: Cantos Paperback – October 2, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Arvio's sophomore follow-up to Visits from the Seventh (2002), reckons with the "Interior Ostracism" fostered by a life's disappointments and regrets—almost all relationship-based. Often set against belittling examples of Roman grandeur (portrayed in titles like "Colosseum," "Sistine" and "Pantheon"), many poems begin with self-deprecating observations ("I was trammeled, I thought, by tragedy"), grim questions ("So, was there something grand in all this grief ") or wavering assertions ("I was saying I never had a care,/ meaning maybe that I was free of care,/ or else meaning that no one cared for me"). Most then proceed through clever vacillations ("I was a sister or I was a saint,/ maybe a gilded statue of Venus,/ sporting a halo or wearing a hat") and stunning sonic associations ("the prison or prism of myself") to arrive at painful confessions: "Oh boy, boy, I know I broke your heart/ with my broken song, I know I was wrong." While repetition of strategies and subjects throughout these 43 poems—composed of nine or 10 strict tercets each—eventually dulls some of the book's punch, Arvio has crafted a humorous, unflinching arrow of self-assertion via self-revelation: Sono means "I am" in Italian. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From The New Yorker
The poems in Arvio's second collection are described as cantos, and they show almost as much allusive range as those of Pound himself. Written in pithy, often playful tercets, these verses (many set in Rome, where Arvio has a home) frequently begin with a simple string of words that serves as the basis for assonant riffing; "I was wandering in a quandary" becomes "and never without a qualm or a pang, / and thinking of taking a quantum leap / out of my quondam life and into yours." Arvio deploys insights from philosophy, psychology, and physics, but a constant preoccupation is that language constructs the things it attempts to describe, and in this her clearest forebear is Stevens, to whose "palm at the end of the mind" she alludes in the first and final poems.
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.