The Persistence of Longing
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I’ve never read poems that seem to me more accurate about love and desire and sexual relationships and their almost-inevitable shattering—darkly gorgeous and expertly-crafted poems, with a white-hot lyric intensity and a narrative pull that becomes cumulative, an erotic veering toward doom. And yet, the persistence of longing is the life force, too, refusing to exhaust itself: How could anything in the universe be undying / when everything rushed forward, trailing light?
Lynne Knight's book The Persistence of Longing speaks eloquently and elegantly about lust, passion, marriage, sex, betrayal, hindsight, and redemption through the consolation of the natural world. This book is deeply personal yet encompasses not only rnen but what women say to men or to one another and what they don't. Seldom does one come across a book that is so tender and so raw, has so much intimate exposure yet exposure that is tempered with objectivity and a complex self-knowledge. Knight's poetic lines are endlessly musical. One could describe the book only by citing line after line of her work. "She imagines her old lovers as geographies / with their rivers, their impasses, their vast sweeps /of wordlessness.” Or "Finally the silence of women began to disappear. / lt crumbled like old bread. / It evaporated like steam from broccoli." Or "The peach trees in the backyard / waited out the winter, their black calligraphy / tossed back and forth against the sky.’” Lovers' husbands and the exes haunt the pages amid the wild beauty of gardens, woods, sprlng blossoms, or winter snow. There ls a generosity to this book that always invites the reader in. Opening it to any page, a reader can feel, with Knight, the persistence of longing.