Skin Shadows / Silence

West Coast Poetry Review
Reno, Nevada 1976


Preface to Skin:

Shadows/SILENCE by Anais Nin:

An intricate book, to be read with care, for there is a simultaneity of voices. There is an inner voice recording experience, but also comments from the world outside, clearly heard, there are director’s orders, analysis, synthesis made on the margin. One has to be very alert.

The key is given in the quotation on the first page: “In silence, therefore, man stands confronted once by the original beginning of all things: everything can begin again, everything can be recreated.” (Max Picard – The World of Silence)

But this is a book, so words are there but restrained, condensed, abstracted. Minimum of words. So one has to listen to over-all vibrations.
There are promises: I will tell everything I know.
There are mystifying statements: “This is the journal which I have decided to keep for the killing of time. It contains everything which must be erased, forgotten. I am trying to make an end of my days.” But there is no voyage without accepting the heart of mystery.

The writer says: “So at the end, the two people having told all, and therefore erased, begin again to see love in maturity, so the Garden of Eden here does not mean innocence but knowledge.”

The loveliest parts are directed to the lover. “I confess everything first. Will tell you everything.”

It should read like poetry. Like a dream. A long dream. For as the writer says: This is not speech, but it is not the agony of silence.
Read as poetry.
Occasionally danced, as directed on the margin.
“The vocabulary of the body.”

There is an attempt here to reach beyond language as having once betrayed us, but by using it as poetry, as essence, it serves as a fluid communication. “Only the poet can assist at rituals of love and the body without interrupting or dissolving the magic…”

So, Deena Metzger is a poet and we have to listen carefully, the words are about to escape every moment because she is wary of them, they might destroy the fragility of our experience.

This book is currently out of print