Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Séance in Daylight


August is fading, we've had a little rain, and Séance in Daylight byYuki Tanaka (Bull City Press, 2018) was the perfect and mysterious book to read for today in the Sealey Challenge. Look at that lovely, strange cover image by Kansuke Yamamoto, A Chronicle of Drifting (1949, gelatin silver print collage). There are several Japanese sources and inspirations in the book, plus Joseph Cornell, and an erasure of Tanaka's own dissertation, with echoes of The Waves (Virginia Woolf) and Nightwood (Djuna Barnes). All amazing and creating its own new drifting experience in reading...!

In another sad connection to What is the What, my simultaneous reading, I found a landmine on p. 5 of Séance in Daylight, in the poem "Death in Parentheses." I found ghosts and butterflies and the color blue in other resonances with the month's poetry reading. So much beauty, mixed with sadness, as in this couplet from "The Empire of Light":

     Soon I am going home. Changed, forgotten--
     a girl in a barren field, pressing twilight to her throat.

And this, from "Discourse on Vanishing,": "She tries / to capture a blue flower as it vanishes / in a garden."

My purple coneflowers are vanishing, except for the seedheads, left for the birds. But the sweet peas, planted from seed along the back fence, are finally blooming.

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