Via Negativa (Paperback)
Poetry. California Interest. LGBTQIA Studies. VIA NEGATIVA, often used to talk about the divine (a way of describing what something is by describing what it is not), is a book about the more difficult ways of talking about the ecstatic world. Half grappling with divinity and the many manifestations of gender/the self, and half an ars poetica, VIA NEGATIVA is a gorgeous holy dunking, a submersion into a rich field of lyricism and emotion that yearns to leave the reader clear-eyed and bright by interrogating the vocabulary used to speak about desire, the divine, and literature. Presented as a series of linked lyric pieces, the book spans a range of forms, including lyric fragments, single strophes, and prose poems, gracefully unified by an ongoing concern with the damage done by language, as well as its redemptive potential. With subtlety and skill, Westhale reminds the reader that sensory experience is irrevocably changed once it is relayed in language.