Tomaž Šalamun’s latest book of poems to be translated into English,There’s the Hand and There’s the Arid Chair, is as difficult as the title suggests. The book has to be read slowly, carefully, over and over for it to unfurl; the poetry is not immediately accessible and requires commitment, dedication. It is demanding, complex and strange. It can’t be absorbed in the span of a single read. Rather, this is the kind of book that I want to come back to over the next year, or ten. The kind of book I want to live with. The language leaves the reader with little choice in the matter — Šalamun’s work is jammed with lines and phrases that stick in the mind, resurfacing in moments of quiet reflection, or on the train when the mind loosens in the press of the everyday. And that press is what Šalamun’s work, especially in this book, evokes.
Read my full review in Cerise Press, Vol 2. #6.