Choreomania explores how trauma binds us, even as it tears us apart, how loss deepens a sense of aloneness, the depths of which remain stubbornly haunted by legacy, language, gratitude and debt. History’s outbreaks of collective dancing in times of plague bespeak not merely a world weariness and manic refusal, but also an energized longing to connect, even as we journey inward, to open there some lost gate. No empathy without an imagination, no imagination without its risk of sorry listening. As a book about community in crisis, this book would investigate our readiness to listen as not only a moral and psychological summons but an art.
This sublime book, that begins and ends with poems directly addressing the ocean, blooms like a delicate yet hardy lotus amid dark water.… Bond’s poetry is as fluent, graceful, and deftly musical as ever, with superb spiritual and philosophical flourishes (“There is an earth that cannot die, says the earth that does …”). Several poems have a Russian matryoshka nesting doll magic to them…, such as the magnificent “Consolation of Shadows.” Though there is a paean to cosmic Walt Whitman in this entrancing and richly rewarding new volume, the poet that most comes to mind, for my part, is intimate, far-reaching Rilke.
“What is an ocean but a body of words / made of ships and storms it cannot conceive,” writes Bruce Bond in his exquisite new collection, Choreomania, a book that gorgeously articulates the bewilderment of being alive in a world where there is “[a]lways a story inside a story and so on, / the center of us so strange now it ceases // to be center. Or us.” Bond’s voice burrows into the unknown, looking, unflinchingly, at the abyss—and we emerge … not with answers, but stunning visions and questions. “I see the brain as a torch we carry / to a world inside the world we lose,” Bond writes. And I’m grateful to have his mind, his words, as a light to pierce through, and see inside, what we’ve lost.
—Allison Benis White