Dancing, with Mirrors
by George Amabile
review by Mark McCawley
More than twenty years in the making, George Amabile’s ‘lyrical retrospective’, Dancing, With Mirrors is Amabile’s thoughtful fragmentation and re-arrangement of his personal history. Essentially one long poem which examines the major events and themes of the poet’s life, organized thematically into a roughly chronological narrative, this long poem is broken down into eleven distinct ‘cantos’, each with a different focus — pain, affection, desire, disappointment, loss, those small graces of the everyday found among the mundane aspects of living. These are intense snapshots of life-defining moments distilled over a lifetime of experience and poetry in which there is general sense of continuity with each of the cantos rather than an imposed unity.
When I began this project, my hope was that, looked at closely, fragments of an individual life — moments of intensity or understanding, crossroads, discoveries, the dynamics of family and friendship, the shifting gestalts of public and private events, glimpses of the interplay between mind, spirit, and world — might become a vehicle for speaking to some of the concerns that have emerged, with some urgency, from the cultural matrix of the last half century. The cantos, as I call them, are organized by juxtapositions which reveal thematic linkages, or narrative connections, and sometimes both.
~George Amabile, Author comments, Porcupine’s Quill webpage