More Than Peace and Cypresses

Overview

Cyrus Cassells’ fourth volume of poetry is an elegiac “book of heroes,” a lyric homage to the “artistic fathers” who taught him “the truth-or-bust beauty of passion transformed / into sheer compassion.”

In the wake of his father’s death, Cassells returned to Italy, France and Spain, countries that nurtured him as a young writer, to investigate the sources of his inspiration. Vincent Van Gogh, Cesare Pavese, Eugenio Montale, Attilio and Bernardo Bertolucci, and García Lorca are ...

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Overview

Cyrus Cassells’ fourth volume of poetry is an elegiac “book of heroes,” a lyric homage to the “artistic fathers” who taught him “the truth-or-bust beauty of passion transformed / into sheer compassion.”

In the wake of his father’s death, Cassells returned to Italy, France and Spain, countries that nurtured him as a young writer, to investigate the sources of his inspiration. Vincent Van Gogh, Cesare Pavese, Eugenio Montale, Attilio and Bernardo Bertolucci, and García Lorca are among those invoked and revisited in order to brace Cassells through his mourning, and to serve as touchstones in his search for the meaning of gallantry and quest for courage and expression.

Throughout his travels—and especially while contemplating flamenco culture—Cassells experiences the juxtaposition of mourning with unanticipated gusts of love and eroticism. Lush Andalusian-based poems emphasize the present’s power for surprise and renewal, while his elegies are ecstatic, erotic and sometimes comic. Questing and elemental, elegantly lyrical, More Than Peace and Cypresses arcs beyond grief to celebrate the fleeting majesty of our lives.

From “Way of the Duende”:

The day mind gone, Lord,
and all the stringencies,
the day’s bright yokes, the day’s heavy bridles of status:
flamenco as an impassioned celebration of night,
of duende, of mystery’s warrens and arabesques

Romans, Carthaginians, phantom Moors wander through the redemptive,
incantatory dancing

Cyrus Cassells’ previous books have earned the William Carlos Williams award, a Lambda Book Award, and a selection as “Best of the Year” by Publishers Weekly. He teaches at Southwest Texas State University and lives in Austin, Texas.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
"More than peace and cypresses, emboldened/ hares at the field's edge,/ Father, I love/ gallantry, tenacity, the sanguine heart before the ledge." What readers will love is the quietly gorgeous language Cassells delivers as he copes with loss. (LJ 9/15/04) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556592140
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2004
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Cyrus Cassells, author of four books of poetry, is a graduate of Stanford University and has worked as a translator, film critic, and actor. He has received the Peter I.B. Lavan Younger Poet Award of the Academy of American Poets and a Lannan Literary Award. Presently he lives in Austin, Texas, and teaches at Southwest Texas State University.

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Table of Contents

Wind of the Appian way 5
Local train 7
Ferragosto 9
I dream the death of Cesare Pavese 13
The death of Vincent van Gogh : I. The maelstrom 15
The death of Vincent van Gogh : II. The room at the Auberge Ravoux 17
The death of Vincent van Gogh : III. Pilgrimage to Auvers 18
The shepherd of the Villa Caffarella 21
Au Revoir (The river again and again) 23
What is this life an eel or a poet has? 25
Atavism 27
The white road of Giorgio Morandi (1941) 29
The courtyard at via Fondazza 32
Wild to be seen again 35
Elegy for Giorgio Bassani 37
The two deaths of Pier Paolo Pasolini 39
August and everything after 41
Handlebar, night face, moon, summer dress 48
Vesuvius as Sleeping Beauty 48
The soul before the great mosque of Cordoba 51
Even the lemons know (lessons) 54
The soul in the ruins of the Medina Azahara 56
Dove's cry 58
The flamenco singer 60
Black sounds, black sounds (The possessed) 61
Farruquito and La Nina 63
Night mind 65
Naked 66
Jacinto invoking duende 67
The way of duende 68
Galan de Noche 69
The magician Lorca 71
Little ballad of the moorish white town 73
Catechism in the Garden of Five Pines 76
Gypsy wedding 80
The treehouse 83
What does family means? 85
Flyapart 87
Oh 89
The appointment 91
To win the young God back again 92
Sons and violets 94
More than peace and cypresses 96
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