Augustine in Carthage, and Other Poems is the daring new collection of poetry from Alessandro Porco.
Equally crude and charming, locker-room macho and sensitive, these poems are always singularly marked by formal ingenuity and stylistic élan. A poetry that gleefully articulates the possibilities of a 21st century balls-deep masculinity, Porco’s new collections begins with its most important work, “Augustine in Carthage,” a trans-historical re-imagining of Book III of St. Augustine’s Confessions, which includes (among other things) philosophizing strippers, Tampico bombers, rabbit holes, coprology, and comic-book heroism. But for all its bombast “Augustine in Carthage” examines, quite seriously, ideas related to the experience of experience, the morality of poetry, and the hypocrisy of spiritual conversion. The book ends with an equally significant suite of depraved yet learned limericks: Porco’s perverse star shines in this unprecedented contribution to Canadian letters, exploring myriad filthy matters of heart. Augustine in Carthage, and Other Poems also includes translations of Italian poetry, re-mixes of classic English poems, performance pieces, tender love poems, and – if you would believe – even a short pornographic novel. Reminding readers that through Tradition the strange and new emerges, this is a deeply-felt and original collection, a work that understands (as its epigraph, in the words of Diderot, insists) “there is a bit of testicle at the bottom of our most sublime feelings and our purest tenderness.”