The Galloping Hour: French Poems by Alejandra Pizarnik (translated by Patricio Ferrari & Forrest Gander)

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"The late Argentine writer Pizarnik (Extracting the Stone of Madness) kindles a wildfire of rapturous desire amid a twilight landscape of irrecoverable love in these poems that were unpublished during her brief life. In her waking dreamland, Pizarnik’s speaker imagines herself atomized into water, night, silence, and death itself—exiled from the corporeal world because she cannot unlearn “how to read what the dust scrawls.” Throughout, the speaker oscillates between her imprisonment by emotion and her desire to escape her senses for the sake of sanity. “Drunk and I made love all night, just like a sick dog,” Pizarnik writes. Her speaker is constantly drawn into a type of masochism, behaving as both predator and prey to herself (“my words are keys that lock me into a mirror, with you, but ever alone”), and confesses her acceptance of misery, “All night, I know that abandonment is me, that the only moaning voice is me.” Demonstrating a deep vulnerability and admirable ability to set limits for her own distress, Pizarnik speaks “of burying everyday fear to secure the fear of an instant” while withholding judgment from others, affirming “to each her own absence.” Pizarnik’s lyrical journal details an unceasing heartbreak—lustful, paralyzing, and contagious."— Publishers Weekly

Reviewed at Publishers Weekly

Reviewed by Nick Ripatrazone for The Millions