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mRb Reviews The Absolute is a Round Die

The Absolute is a Round DieIn their latest issue, the Montreal Review of Books had a look through one of our newest poetry translations: The Absolute is a Round Die by José Acquelin and translated by Hugh Hazelton.

“The perfection that José Acquelin aspires to is a mystical union with the absolute, that which is everywhere at once – or, in his own metaphor, a spherical die.” writes Bert Almon, who gushes that “His diction is full of words like ‘soul,’ ‘infinite,’ ‘breath,’ and ‘light.’ He likes to create paradoxes and some lines take the form of aphorisms: ‘the shadow is the invention of a poet / who’s afraid of himself,’ or ‘eternity is time / that has lost its memory.'”

Almon observes that “Acquelin’s style employs the easy-rolling parallelism of the surrealists (often starting lines with ‘I’ followed by a verb), and he likes surreal metaphors in the manner of André Breton: ‘the present is a fox of light bulbs / the present is a wine skin filled with beyond.’ Yeats would say that there isn’t enough difficulty in these poems to force the plough very deep, but the Infinite is a hard soil to break.”

Born and living in Montreal, José Acquelin is known to be a poet open wide to the world. He is the author of fifteen poetry collections and, for over twenty-five years, has been an active reader-performer-organizer of events mixing poetry, music and the visual arts, across the country as well as in Europe and Latin America.

Hugh Hazelton specializes in the comparison of Canadian and Quebec literatures with those of Latin America. He has written four books of poetry and translates from French, Spanish, and Portuguese into English. His translation of Vétiver (Signature, 2005), a book of poems by Joël Des Rosiers, won the Governor General’s award for French-English translation in 2006. He is a professor emeritus of Spanish at Concordia University in Montreal and is co-director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre.

The Absolute Is a Round Die is a work of metaphysical meditation, a verbal mural painting, a restless search for a way to speak the unspeakable, know the unknowable, attain the unattainable. It travels through Middle Eastern sensuality and mysticism, seeking the transcendence within what is at hand, discovering the invisible.

To read the full review, you can visit the mRb website at:

The Absolute is a Round Die is available on the Guernica website at:

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