Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Jean Valentine - Break the Glass

On the cover of Break the Glass is a shot of Antony Gormley's wonderful scultpures

For years, I had only one book by Jean Valentine, a hardback of Ordinary Things, that I got sometime in the mid 80s. I didn’t know much about her except for that book, which meant a lot to me.

Sometime in the 90s, she was suddenly everywhere. Her work was still interesting and I enjoyed catching up with her catalogue, but still, Ordinary Things was the book for me.

At AWP, I picked up a hardback of her newest book, Break the Glass, and I had a wonderful time reading it on the long trip home. It’s the first time I’ve read a book straight through in years.

It’s dedicated to Kate and Max Greenstreet, and that just adds to its charm, as I know Kate and Max as well. They’re very deserving of having a book dedicated to them, and I’m quite happy to see it’s this one.

I was working

I was working on cleaning up a house
before I left it.

The longest work every year was Clean the house
before we moved.

The mother as a child was always moving,
who knows why.

I, said the fly.
With my little eye.

If I clean up this house here long enough,
I can leave it.

But leave the eye next to where I
put my house, this way, that way—

“As with rosy steps the morn”

                                                  In memory of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson

on the other side of the earth
standing upside down, listening,
Everyone on the reverse of the picture
on the other side of the measuring eye

The five notes, slowly, over & over,
and with some light intent,
And the whole air,
no edge, no center,

And the light so thin, so fast—


Don’t listen to the words—
they’re only little shapes for what you’re saying,
they’re only cups if you’re thirsty, you aren’t thirsty.


At 2/23/2011 5:19 AM, Blogger Julio de Luna said...


The calendar cells fill
like Houdini's water tanks
with the cold blackwater
of time, and in the photograph
I carry of you I notice
something I didn't notice
last year: there is above
your right shoulder this
apotheosis: a blurred bird.

- de Luna

At 2/24/2011 1:14 PM, Anonymous Julio de Luna said...


The route down which I lope
won't be the same when I lope back
Bootless to beeline
I'm sluiced to a different spot
I shuttle back but the sky morphs
Yesterday I was a child
now I'm a man
The world's a queer thing
and the rose among the roses
looks like no other rose

-de Luna


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home