Lacunae, Daniel Nadler’s debut collection, is an exercise in poetics of vital import. In it, Nadler imagines himself into those moments of unintelligibility–that blank space in between things–where constraint and expansion coincide. These poems, translations of work that does not otherwise exist, are intended to fill the invented or actual lacunae in manuscripts of classical Indian poetry. When faced with such ellipses, like where a few decisive hieroglyphs have worn off a wall, he infers and reconstructs the flora, fauna, and pleasures of an ancient world.
“Like the wind that gusts coastal pines toward the water / sleep bends me toward my lover / and I cannot drink from her”: Nadler’s is a project of constant negotiation. He attends to impulses of restoration and conservation, in turns. From this tension arises verse of simplicity and clarity of vision, imbued with that trembling quality of new life “luminous and half-naked.” Lacunae, deeply felt and gnomically wise, dares to pave a poetic landscape all its own, the work of a remarkable new poet with enormous ambition and ability.
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