I Kept All Your Postcards

Paperbound in full color
Hand sewn
26 pp. + 4

I Kept All Your Postcards

Catherine Fuerst

In her first published collection, Catherine Fuerst’s agile poems dance elegant figures around the text that inspired them, Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. Calvino’s protagonist, Marco Polo, in addition to entertaining Kublai Khan with accounts of the cities he visited on his voyage to China, seems also to have sent a series of nine postcards home to his lover in Venice. These poems are her answers, a lover’s true dialogic answers that meld Calvino’s language and her own.

An old man loads a basket of sea urchins onto a cart.

In either case, it is best for me not to stare.

A girl gone mad for love might steal those urchins,

Sleep with them pressed into her cheek.

From them Marco Polo will learn, if he gets them, what their unborn daughters are up to and why talking to her will be far more satisfying than talking to Khan. He will learn what distance is. He will hear of her own projected travels in the opposite direction from his, among the Passamaquoddy, whose language she will learn.

Six other “postcards” round out the collection, about the First & Only Bank of Mutual Benefit and Goethe’s mother among other subjects. Constrained in various ways, they move in a way that feels wholly unconstrained.