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Venetian Mirrors

Venetian Mirrors

By Jakob Ziguras

Foreword by David Bentley Hart

342 pp

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About the Book

Venetian Mirrors takes the reader on a meandering tour, whose path traces a poetic portrait of Venice—as mediated through the history of its representations—in which multiple voices and layers intermingle: fact and fiction, waking consciousness and dream, the past and the present, the living and the dead. This imaginal itinerary also presents, as much through its form as through its content, a sustained reflection on reflection—hence, on the relation between original and image—and on the inseparable, if tense, bond between nature and art, which that city so consummately exemplifies.




Praise

“‘As above, so below’: and in Venice they collide in a
shimmering surface illusion that is also the manifest truth. In Venice you can learn about everything, and in these amazing poems you can learn everything about Venice: simultaneously in lofty verse and lowlier prose-poetry that mirror each other across the blank central columns like Venetian facades on opposite sides of the eerily still canals. Read, ponder, and wonder.”—JOHN MILBANK, author of Theology and Social Theory; co-author of The Politics of Virtue


“On the left, four tightly-rhymed quatrains about ‘Venice asleep in Venice’; and on the right, the same poem, disarticulated, relaunched, rethought in prose, giving us not only a new poem but also a new poetics. Such is Venetian Mirrors, not forgetting the remarkable coda of luminous quatrains. A work of intelligence, inventiveness, and panache: not to be missed.”—KEVIN HART, Edwin B. Kyle Professor of Christian Theology, University of Virginia

“Jakob Ziguras is one of the most adept English-language poets working in the sonnet form and one of the few with the discernment and technique to write vividly about large ideas. Venetian Mirrors is an intellectually roomy book, grounded in the sumptuous but beguilingly mundane and even crude particulars of its main setting. As in the best devotional poetry, the poet’s religious feeling supplies more than enough
complexity and imagination to move even a settled philosophical materialist.”—JOSHUA MEHIGAN, author of The Optimist and Accepting the Disaster

“Jakob Ziguras’s poetry is a counterforce to our era
of simplism and the tendency in much poetry towards a prosaic, novelistic realism. High-modernist in the density of its allusions, symbolist in its images, Venetian Mirrors is a masterpiece that eludes oppositions between the formal and the experimental,
the rational and the surreal. Venice appears as the central locus and a synecdoche of the modern world, with its contradictions and atrocities. The poet takes us on a Dantean voyage through the purgatorio of this world, where we glimpse, through veils of illusion, the redemptive Logos and the face of Sophia.”—LUKE FISCHER, author of A Gamble for my Daughter and A Personal History of Vision




About the Author

JAKOB ZIGURAS is a poet, a translator, and a lapsed philosopher. He has previously published two collections of poetry—Chains of Snow (Pitt Street Poetry, 2013) and The Sepia Carousel (Pitt Street Poetry, 2016)—as well as translations of Polish poetry and prose, including Kaddish: Pages on Tadeusz Kantor, by Jan Kott (Seagull Books, 2020). He currently lives in a village in Poland. 

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