JIM DINE : A SONG AT TWILIGHT
“The people that I love, I love,” said Cecil Taylor. That goes for the named (for instance, Diana, Ted, Bob, Claude, Mandelstam, Barbara, Ernie, Ron and others) and the unnamed in these intimate, intense, fractured elegies. Reading the poems, we might think we know these people. There are the stunning longer poems, “Jewish Fate” and “My Letter to the Troops,” each figuring like a playlet, particular players performing their way from past and present time toward a horizon line—“We live forever/On a minute.” Dine’s sense of measure (echoing Creeley here?) provides the tension between experiencing exuberance and the darker tones of grief. There’s painting in this book. Colors become words naming colors: blue, silver, white, grey, orange, black, yellow. Red goes with bolt cutters, a shawl, risotto, brain, smudges, coat, stars, ears, leaves, a shell, an axe, dreams. Loads of dreams in the poems. And places in this journey of the soul, for instance Ohio, Manhattan, Vienna, Rome and Paris, Montrouge where Dine had a studio and where many of the songs occur. “The soul…/is a journey that never ages.” Timely and timeless, the Elysian Fields are here, in A Song at Twilight.
— Norma Cole
The poems in A Song at Twilight are songs of experience as well as innocence, never settling down in one place, incessantly commuting between air and ink, music and words, always moving on. An all-over Orpheus, the angel of poetry materializes in the printed poems, each a different occasion to join the song.
— Olivier Brossard
When you have circled the sun more than eighty times, mourning has become deeply folded into your daily life and memories are apt to make an unexpected appearance. “I am a child with red ears.” There are many more dots to connect. “My thoughts/go back to/Jules Ferry Square/where I was given/the secrets of/unhappiness.” And yet, despite the death of many close friends and colleagues, Jim Dine continues to be a purposeful and enthusiastic peripatetic celebrating the commonplace, often with a sweet humor “Return to the Metro!/all the Alsatian ‘crybabies’/are our cousins,/(the little elves).” Dine’s perceptions are a torrent that he shapes. The music animating the poems is all his. Whether short or long and skinny on the pages, the poems are constellations of light brimming with declarations of love, sad and happy memories, of being alive to the tremors and aftershocks of the world. Through it all Dine remains full of wonder and in pursuit of joy.
— John Yau
Paperback. 94 pages.