Tomaž Šalamun’s Ethic Of Astonishment

David Schurman Wallace at Poetry Magazine:

A reader who opens a volume of Šalamun to any page is likely to find a startling line: “Bees rustle like a fifth column”; “I am a volcano that needs no sandals.” His images cascade in bewildering but thrilling torrents: “Wreaths shut in butter, shut in a glassy / casket in the hydra’s snout under the tree-tooth, / left shadow, microbes, blown up by / Job, flushed tender shivering gelatinous / Law morphing into socage.” Tonally, he can shift abruptly from the silly (“the soul of earth jacks off the skeleton key”) to the breathtaking (“My heart / beats like the heart of a hare who will die of fear”). He is a poet of wild and strange delights; to love Šalamun, readers must want to be invited into uncharted territory.

Rather than refer to him as a “poet’s poet,” that rickety epithet, better to think of him as dashingly “peripheral”: an artist on an arrow-flight toward the world’s bullseye, a pilgrim on a mission to transform speech, regardless of birth tongue.

more here.