Kociejowski, an antiquarian bookseller living in England, offers us a short and motley collection of poems centering on the theme of music. Like Borges trolling for inspiration among the special collections of libraries, Kociejowski looks for his subjects in obscure texts and forgotten legends. "Salvatore Guiliano" concerns the adventures of a Sicilian bandit, "The Charterhouse at Valldemosa" recounts the winter spent by George Sand and Frédéric Chopin on Majorca, and "Communiqué for William Hoffer" reflects on a Canadian literary lion who was also "one of the best poets never to have written a verse." But whereas Borges's bibliolatry was only a springboard into the ether of metaphysics and religion, Kociejowski seems to enjoy the recherché for its own sake. Most of his poems are thus accompanied by long explanatory endnotes, in which the jocose vies with the pedantic. The wildly disparate subjects of these works are nominally gathered under the cloudy trope of "music." Chopin figures in two of the long poems, another concerns the songs of a Persian Sufi singer, and "A Pavane for Sydney Housego" describes an old violinist playing for money in a park. The long poem about Chopin and George Sand in Majorca is essentially a prosy piece of biography culled from letters written by Sand with no organizing themes or extended conceits. Yet in the final section Kociejowski will have the final word on Chopin, pulling this limp rabbit from his inch-deep hat: "What music is, his life is: / a prelude that supposes what it is prelude to exists already, / if soundlessly so."
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