The Red Leaves of Night
Reviews of The Red Leaves of Night
Possession and loss, rapture and despair: David St. John's narrator in this dazzling collection of poems remains unflinchingly aware that the trajectory between these two states is both brief and irresistible. Like modern Dante's Virgil, he guides us through a mosaic of experiences to depict the vast architecture of erotic desire and communion. The sexual bond, with its potential for the breakdown of all spiritual and physical boundaries between two formerly separate beings, becomes the site of almost unbearable psychological and erotic tension that runs throughout the collection. The Red Leaves of Night finds its breathtaking power in a recognition of the necessary impermanence of such communion, and gives voice to that most courageous of modern men--one who grasps the dangers of ecstasy yet cannot turn away.
Expressive, gestural, and image-laden, St. John’s lines fairly hum with the pleasure of their making.