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BOOKS >>> Caryl Pagel // TWICE TOLD
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Twice Told is a grave collection of accounts and encounters in which
premonitions, visions, whispers, and coincidences circle a dire, unidentified
plot. Disturbed and disturbing, over-heard and beheld, Pagel’s “perpetual
disclosures” chillingly foretell the past and regret the future. How terrifying!
How thrilling! Sung in the hushed tones of secret, instinctual, and
incremental rhythms, Pagel’s beautiful “catastrophic underground echoes”
have the urgent intensity of a steady descent down a spiral staircase in a dream.
Moreover, Twice Told has “a frantic animal soul” that plays dead to survive
its own death. When you put down this book of poems you will fear your own
— Robyn Schiff
In this extended meditation on narrative and its hauntings, “I” has given way
to “you,” who holds the stories of others and tells them—and yet, as in any
form of travel (which telling is, in this book), the borders between any two or
more can blur: and then what happens? In some of the book’s ten Visions,
meditation gives way to gnosis: “One kind of absolute actual ceaseless love is
the one / where you are trying to keep your beloved alive where / ever he
goes you are trying not to let him ever / die […].” Working with care,
patience, and inventiveness, Pagel lets in some of the hardest questions in
this deft and probing book.
— Lisa Fishman