Almost Love by Pierre Lepori (Talisman 2021); Translated by Peter Valente

The absence of a lover’s response in Pierre Lepori’s Almost Love is as powerful as the absence of light. The poet is consumed with his love and the lover—”my love has lands bathed in rain / and white suns in the fold of the knee.”   His love is tangible, intangible, sexual, mythic, and like the wind.  When the poet begins to separate from his love, first a period of analysis, then as the veil lifts, barrenness and bitterness. As with Orpheus, if one tries too hard, love evaporates. The “we” flounders without a verb, but then Lepori moves from the wild longing that obscures sight and vision into a quiet acceptance of the shortness of love, of life.  With the end of the love affair, whether imaginary or real, the love and the lover remain beautifully inscribed in Lepori’s poems.