Rodney's Reviews > Leukadia

Leukadia by E. Tracy Grinnell
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Jun 04, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: poetry

Imagine a fresh take on Sappho that starts not with the poet, or her fragments, but with the name of the cliff she threw herself from, reflected in fall by the sea. The emphasis shifts from subject (the “real” Sappho, recovering the poems, etc.) to questions of perspective and edges and angle of vision: the conditions of visibility—subjectivity—itself. Leukadia re-envisions Sappho as a litmus for our own ends and limits, the poet a double that figures the patriarch’s fear and the margin’s desire, “Echo that won’t echo” until we learn to assemble our selves around the things it refuses to say. As Grinnell describes Sappho (and Helen & Cassandra) in the exchange with Bhanu Kapil at the end:

“Multivocal echo chambers—at the same time, the “striking” word for deep sleep: [koma:], the trance, the sleep, the silence silenced, the spoken for—the threshold speech encounters, the threshold that prevents speech, or distorts—trapped on one side of the mirror—madness!—the fugue—”
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