The subtelty of focus, the insistent clarity of mind, the haunting moments of indecision, the apprehension of empty spaces and silences, the formal and structural inventions of a writer acting as a “taxidermist of [him]self” (“I Transform Myself”), the dialectics of motion and stasis, the quiet exuberance of a poetry of pure thought–all adds up to a body of work that creates a language field of extraordinary beauty and resonance and works towards an understanding of how to write in a state of fidelity to the relationship between observer and observed. Bonvicino, who began his career as a concrete poet, has assimilated the lessons of the postwar avant-garde without dwelling excessively on abstraction and self-reflexiveness. Whether Bonvicino describes a brazilwood bird, “female mandrake leaves” (“Leaves”), an “ataxic flower” (Talvez”) or simply the things he did not see (“111796”), the mental climate that emerges from his poetry is one that derives its extraordinary intensity from a renewed attention to the act of looking itself, from the contemplation of relationships and contraries and from the desire to delight the imagination along lines of disjunction, extension and regeneration. Régis Bonvicino is certainly one of the most challenging and interesting poets of the last twenty-five years.
Michel Delville on Régis Bonvicino’s Selected Poems