Gustaf Sobin's Voyaging Portraits is the newest collection by the American poet and longtime resident of Provence. The voice of these poems is the voyager, moving across a landscape that is both physical and existential, and the portraits it continually casts hover at the precarious limits of language. The book is laid out in five sections. "Of Neither Wind nor Anemones,” set in the Mediterranean basin, introduces the work's major theme: the poem's quest for its own hidden imagery across the shifting ground of the evocable. "Against a Bleached Viridian," located in the hills of Provence (with its suns, moons, snails, pathways, its vineyards and orchards), depicts a nature menaced by asphyxia. "A Portrait of the Self as Instrument of Its Syllables" traces the author's early years in self-elected exile. "Along America's Edges" extends to the metaphoric rim of North America. The locale of the conclusion, "Of the Four-winged Cherubim as Signature," is Italy, among the accumulated layers of Western culture.
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