The Arcanes represent, in Jack Hirschman’s vast poetic production, a fundamental and extraordinary element, the most advanced point of his questing. It comprises 126 long and orchestrated compositions, collected from more than thirty years of a particular poetic inquiry, which ground the political engagement and social themes, ever present in his poetry, with stormy leaps of mind, heart and soul, and personal events and references.
The volume is presented in its chronological development from 1972 to 2006, encompassing its entire output. In these works, fragments of poetic insight explode, from which the themes and images engaged by the poet emerge, which knowingly fuse reality with metaphysics, actuality with the memory of the past.
One will find here all his poetic bounty: his cultural references and his extraordinary capacity as a poet of kabbala, yiddish culture, surrealism, neologistic invention, the solemnity of the sacred, eros in contradistinction to pornography, and his obsession with the awful images of the holocaust and with the horrors of fascism old and new. The faces of David, Nellie, Shupsl, Allen, Pasolini, Kaufman and Olson seem superimposed and fused, meeting and encountering each other, and personal and “political” grief and joy flow into one another in this extraordinary poetry in which compassion and the pietas reach the highest summits.
The Arcanes look at the life and at history, at the happenings and changes in the contemporary world, at the decline and agony in western civilization, at the role of new systems of communication, at the struggles of the new movements, at the horrors of wars that are never just. But Hirschman always succeeds in giving a sign of hope, confident as he is in human beings and above all in poetry.
We joyously welcome the publication of The Arcanes of Jack Hirschman in their entirety.