Rules of Solitude
by Eugène Savitzkaya, translated from the French by Gian Lombardo

ISBN: 0-9744503-0-8
Perfect Bound, $12.00
Publication Date: September 2004.
6 x 4.625 inches, 64 pages

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“Radiant as the helix, perishable as the potato,” the prose poems in Rules of Solitude require you to read slowly — but not for their syntactical complexity. The very simplicity of the language points to something bigger, starker and more beautiful lurking beyond the page. Savitzkaya’s Rules of Solitude explores the interconnectedness of the universe and individual isolation. If Duino Elegies were prose blocks, if Rilke’s penchant for the cosmic were tempered by the grotesque, you could then achieve the delineations of the soul etched by Savitzkaya.

“The face is the central element used by Savitzkaya to explore both physical and psychological identity; it is the door on the surface that leads to more profound considerations of humanness, eternity, existence, and, more simply, lifes joys and sorrows.”
—Dawn Cornelio, American Book Review

“[T]his French-English bilingual edition of sparse, surrealistic prose poems is a labor of love. No competition, prize, or marketing scheme gave birth to it. . . The apparent subject matter of the poems is the human face: the face as mask, more temporal then permanent, shifting like a landscape, revealing and hiding human nature. But really, Savitzkaya writes about nothing less complicated than the soul—that which is mysterious and can’t be defined. . . Though the poems are often playful, their chief interest is not to play with language, milking words and sounds for possibilities, but to give voice to those intangible elements that govern our existence: love, death, joy, aging, impermanence. . . Most striking about the poems is the voice, at once disembodied and personal.”
—Deborah Diemont, New Pages

One prose poem from Rules of Solitude...

Touching one’s own face is tantamount to plunging one’s hand into muddy water or disturbing the shape of a puff of smoke. Children wear their golden faces like a splash of sun in the middle of the sea, far from any port.

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