Third Body
by Michel Delville, translated from the French by Gian Lombardo

ISBN: 978-0-9792999-7-1
Perfect Bound, $13.00
Publication Date: November 2009.
5.5 x 8.5 inches, 70 pages

This book was translated and published with the generous support of the Communauté française de Belgique.

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In Third Body, Michel Delville continues in the tradition of Belgian prose poetry exemplified by such prose poets as Henri Michaux, Géo Norge, and Eugene Savitzkaya. These writers honorably and admirably extend the francophone tradition of the prose poem as started in nineteenth century France by Aloysius Bertrand and Charles Baudelaire. Like these forbears and contemporaries, Delville utilizes the prose poem as a way to access profound poetic sentiments and provide trenchant social commentary through prosaic means—“To convert our ideas into material things.” This conversion requires an understanding not simply of the material conditions Delville wishes to elucidate but also the ways in which political shifts play out on an intimate human scale, and vice versa. Throughout Third Body, Delville’s lush, fervent prose poems masterfully articulate his philosophical concerns, while demonstrating a profound pleasure in using this literary form to express them. He is our interpreter, our navigator, our scribe across the terrain he sets out, and we need him here to guide us. We need literature like Delville’s to help us make sense of human events because, on its own, “The eye doesn’t see beyond sky.”

Violence to Meat (from Third Body)

Masked bloodstained withered skin, tongue reddened by an impudent Parisian accent, chomping words and splitting them into even layers between two rows of teeth drunk with the repeated issuance of a promiscuous word, empty and vain, something borrowed from someone else, torso stiffly bent toward the dark ceiling, neck twisted into a rutting swan reeking of its own magnetic emanations, sniffing the bottom of his glass in search of the ultimate hostility, licking fingers, a face with the serenity of a bed of farmed oysters, left hand tracing semi-circles and broken loops in the air, unpreoccupied by the gangly grimaces of an audience already in the throes of whispering cursed tomorrows and then choking them back on their own saliva.

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