GUEST POST // This Way to the End (A Review of Mario Savioni’s New Book by Marta Pombo Sallés)

Our Dear Readers, today’s Guest Post is an unusual one. Instead of our typical literary frippery we shall present to you a review by Marta Pombo Sallés of Mario Savioni’s new book ‘This Way To The End’.

As we all know, writing is hard work. Anyone who has tried to write a poem or essay (or even just a shopping list) can attest to this fact. You put your soul into your writings. You literally pour yourself out onto the page. That’s why we’re often a bit sceptical towards so-called literary critics and their sometimes rather dismissive reviews. In other words, breaking is not making, and criticising is not creating.

But we hope you’ll believe us when we say that writing good, professional literary criticism is an art, and that critiquing a poem sometimes takes no less effort than to write the poem itself. A really good review makes you empathise, makes you feel and think, and most importantly it makes you want to read the thing that it’s critiquing. In fact, Marta’s reviews are in a class of their own. It’s clear that she immerses herself in a book before she offers her thoughts. It’s a considered approach that we wish more reviewers would take.

But that’s enough of us for now. We should make way for Marta and Mario. Bring it on, guys!

Tati & Tony

 

 

I loved reading this book. I just find it fascinating, feel wrapped up in it, think, feel and taste every poem and short story which I see as being mainly about the individual’s eternal search for truth and beauty. I think this would be the central topic of the book as we start to read each and every poem and short story. We see how this search is very difficult in a world full of greed, wars and where love relationships do not last. As readers we are made aware that this happens because such relationships are usually based on the needs our capitalist system has created as opposed to animals’ nature, for instance, the way a family of chirping birds acts, the bird mother protecting the little birds and doing this simply out of sacrifice. The images of the chirping birds appear on several occasions as an ideal to attain which seems not to be possible in human life. That is not how love relationships work nor how an elderly mother ends her last living days, nor how one gender abuses the other, nor how a few very rich people rule the world and allow the rest to suffer from poverty and modern enslavement in a dehumanized society where Alfa people, such as Aldous Huxley showed in his novel Brave New World, are the only rulers. Truth and beauty are seen in poetry and in art like paintings. Many poems are beautifully written as the reader feels like being in front of the painting itself, everything makes us aware of the real truth of a dehumanized society in decline. I think the author wants us readers to react in front of that. He wants us all to be truth and beauty seekers. This is a powerful message of hope as expressed here:

“We have dreams,
Like a painting,
We are majestic,
Always unique, if careful”

This is the link to the book if you want to buy it, and this is Mario Savioni’s blog.

 

by MARTA POMBO SALLÉS
© All rights reserved 2018

GUEST POST // The Sea is Watching by Mario Savioni (with commentary by Marta Pombo Sallés)

In some complacent nest,
I saw the open door –
The extraordinary field of innocence.

She weeps having not expected
To be a party to purity.

It is a field of fog at the end of the lake,
Where the weeds swirl.

He says, “I do not need tea.”

Again, the swirling field.

He walks alone along the edge.

Do you know the sound of water lapping?
A sun setting behind reeds?

He hears laughter not meant for him
And words:

“Death waits not on age.”
“The young sometimes die before the old.”

She loves him, this slayer of rice paper.
She races in winter to free him.

They cry on a bridge.
She is shadowed.
Young lovers.

Spring comes.
Spring is the answer.

Or is it summer?

In it, I see the weakness of men,
And a woman’s burden is to trust.

But we are not strong enough
To carry the weight of ourselves
Through this eagerness.
Laughter there is none.
A bloodied mouth, the searing wind,
As if evil came,
Then rain, a purity.

The field weak now,
Showers pouring,
A storm,
Things breaking,

And then suddenly it stops.

Who is the wiser?
So much lucky red silk –
Floating debris.

Two women wait,
While the sea is watching.

It is like Noah,
And so they sit
Looking at stars from a rooftop.

It is about men and their gentleness,
As she waves the lantern in space
And sees the shooting star.

 

by MARIO SAVIONI
© All rights reserved 2011

 

A review of Mario Savioni’s poem, “The Sea is Watching”

I was rereading Mario Savioni’s book entitled After and had a closer look at poem “The Sea is Watching”:

I like it very much as a poem having found inspiration in the Japanese movie with the same title.

The whole poem sounds very musical, especially when I read the words from the book and, at the same time, listen to its author, reading it aloud on youtube.

This is how I interpreted the poem at first sight:

The “complacent nest” could be a euphemism for the word brothel. The “field of innocence” is something I associate with Oshin. She is an innocent prostitute because she still believes in love although she is a sex worker. She falls in love twice. She weeps because the promise of marriage with Fusanosuke has not been fulfilled. She is not “a party to purity.”

There seems to be a he, not wanting tea and walking along the edge, either Fusanosuke or maybe it is the second chance she gets when she falls in love again with Ryosuke. The word “edge” suggests risk. Could they be the “young lovers”? There is death, someone younger dying that could refer to Ryosuke killing Kikuno’s customer.

The coming of spring suggests the lovers’ season par excellence. The beginning of love. Summer would mean this love is already ripe, like fruit.

I also see the traditional men-women roles. “The weakness of men” who are supposed to be so strong but they are weak with the pleasures of the flesh as they need prostitutes and sex, often abusing women. Luckily the rain and the storm seem to come as an opportunity for purity, for the prostitutes to clean themselves and to get rid of this life. The “lucky red silk” appears to me as the symbol for the brothel, now a “floating debris”.

The two women sit and wait on the rooftop, a symbol for an anchor where they can hold on to. “The shooting star” means hope, a wish that someone will come and rescue them from the flood, maybe the second he, Oshin’s second opportunity in life, that is, Ryosuke coming by boat.

 

by MARTA POMBO SALLÉS
© All rights reserved 2016