Ardour: the flame of desire; a spiritual, sexual, or physical burning; a passion that the OED tells us now connotes only “generous or noble impulses” though once it could speak of evil. It’s a word I rarely use or hear spoken in conversation. When I think of reading it, I recall English novels. In these stories a girlish face turns upward to receive a kiss; it is the kiss that is imposed with ardour, the girl’s lover who is ardent. When I read for “ardour” online, the books at the top of the list my search returns are religious, moral, martial.
Sound/Chest begins with a find and a flood. In the basement of the University of Iowa library in 2008, Amish Trivedi discovered an old card catalog and was arrested by its remnant labels. Severed from the content they once organized, the paired words and numbers of the catalog have become the titles of poems that attempt to reanimate lost relationships of sense. The speaker of Sound/Chest feels their way around a disaster whose personal blur sometimes sharpens in a collective phrase, and then simple terms rise, like the storm water that filled the library basement later that summer, with displacing force.