Geomantic riposte: 'Exaltation in Cadmium Red'
Sonia Di Placido is a Toronto-based poet, playwright, writer and artist. She has published two chapbooks, as well as many poems in several anthologies and magazines. Her first book of poetry, Exaltation in Cadmium Red, showcases her love of language and level of craft as a poet, drawing on her Italian ancestry and centuries of “Old World” artistry. One of her very interesting preoccupations is with the notion of a female Dante creating the ideal male love, presumably in a “sweet new style,” and changing history thereafter. Poet Russell Thornton waxes on rather marvellously about her first book, and here is the truncated version:
The poems in Sonia Di Placido's Exaltation in Cadmium Red lay authoritative and stylish claim to an older, deeper, more poetically acute and powerful song than is often heard in Canadian poetry. They evoke ancient passion - passion in all its senses of fullness of erotic feeling, suffering, and spirituality; they seem drawn molten out of the fires of experience and out of the poet's vulnerable, desirous, fierce core at "absolute stations of [her] dance with words."
Here is a taste of that to savour from her poem “Skins Over Pompeii”.
Exaltation in Cadmium Red by Sonia Di Placido (Guernica Editions, 2012, Page 33)
What else is there?
The restless search, this capsule
we both know, the ancient city we share.
You were hammered, sodden, drowned.
I am here, alive. It’s thirty-five
years since your murder,
my birth. We meet, our hurting skins,
a poem not yet proof:
I’m the new flesh of your land.
Tongue, skin, bone, breath into gesture.
Our absolute stations of dance with words
mimicking catacombed griefs.
I’ve finger-skinned their surfaces,
come to find you here.
I know this place, my blunt tattoo –
once juice, now skin over burnt clay.
Geomantic Riposte: Crackle
Like a lump of the misshapen in an art school kiln, that is
how I feel, coaxing this cultivar of self-loathing, national
pastime, through careful selection Like erotic realtor
with migrant pool cleaner let us act out each emblematic
on automatic my fetish headdress shall moult no feather
when revealing another wing of Roman bathhouse that
runs hot and cold with walls still piping hot from Pompeii
then we’ll draw out the deposit from a bank with Dante
on the side of it The tattooed bicep on the bus looked
itchy and melted into Huysmans fantasy, the kind driving
Wilde wild Even in dreams, even in that villa of the
mind, we could not afford more than a stick of furniture
a measure of silk to read no more that day within and the
decadence of Watteauesque crooner and Venezia herself
sank under the weight of bloated cruise ships and the Old
World went global, extirpating ear-biting opera but with a
faint Libiam’ a crackle of the first crepitation per Lei