Martín Adán

Martín Adán's 'The Cardboard House'

The poet's novel

Martín Adán’s The Cardboard House — this text is exactly what I imagine when I ponder the question, what is a “poet’s novel?” It could be called a novel. It could also be called a suite of prose poems. The language is both precise and conjuring.  

“The sun: a rare, hard, golden, lanky coleopteran.” [1]

Coleoptera, or beetle, from Greek, meaning “sheath” and “wing”  sums up nicely an aesthetic approach I am trying to locate within the larger realm of the form. Poet’s novels are somehow sleek, narrowed, compressed, with a density akin to poetry, and also with the possibility of flight often more difficult to locate in prose. Prose fiction can be beholden to plots, turns, developments which must unfold.  Not so with poet’s novels which defy categorization and move with the freedom of verse.  In The Cardboard House, sun is a character, as is the afternoon, sky, boyhood, sea, cities, etc.

 I knew I was well ensconced in this fluid concise text when I read:

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