Edinburgh Notebook

Edinburgh Notebook

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Author: Valerie Mejer Caso

Translator: Michelle Gil-Montero

Publisher: Action Books (2021)

A book-length epitaph for her late brother Charlie, Valerie Mejer Caso's Edinburgh Notebook is a captivating, startling expression of grief. Following a trail of breadcrumbs, Mejer Caso's poems shift between memories, cities, philosophies, echoes and landscapes of quicksand, oceans, deserts, apocalypse. Featuring photographs by Barry Shapiro, Edinburgh Notebook contains a profound archive of cultural history coursing with elliptical, illuminating poems. "Even without being / you are what exists and what does not exist, / the looming night."

"The language that emerges is one pierced by the world and by our actions in the world. Constructed from the limit of experience, these poems have relinquished all rhetorical temptation, any purely verbal exploration, in order to insist on an infinitely more risky investigation: that of capturing the instant just before things turn to shadows."

–Raúl Zurita

"At its best a book of poetry can capture the solitary intellectual vexations we have with memory and death, which live at the center of all our reckoning. Edinburgh Notebook is such a book. Valerie Mejer Caso, deftly translated by Michelle Gil-Montero, is an exquisite archivist of the evidence we rely on to revisit our histories: stained photographs, bats, and fleeting glimpses, the palimpsests that flitter from gorgeous nocturnes: 'I'll wreck the piano, and the dust of its bones will sound mournful, and that possible song will replay like a canon.' I love the haunted library of this book and the cool blue eye that dizzies then rights me with both heart and head."

–Carmen Giménez Smith