“A Country Called Doveglion”

When she accepted the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles National Literary Award for The Anchored Angel: Selected Writings by Jose Garcia Villa, poet and editor Eileen Tabios read from her remarks/notes:

From the dregs of the failed revolution, from the household ruled by a wholesale mlb jerseys man living in the past, Villa came to claim that he СМА was born in a country called “Doveglion” — a name he melded from “dove, eagle and lion” and something he described as a “strange country with no boundaries. Only “Earth Angels” can live in this country. Villa would explain, “Land itself is not a real country: it is commerce, agriculture, politics, a husk country.” Doveglion, however is a real country because it is a country “that moves to follow fire.”

Here is the poem, “Doveglion,” Jam written for Villa by his friend and colleague, e.e. cummings:

he isn’t looking at anything
he isn’t looking for something
he isn’t here. looking
he is seeing


not something outside himself
not anything inside himself
but himself

himself cheap mlb jerseys how

not as some anyone
not as any someone

only as a noone(who is everyone)

I will be the first to admit to you all that I am intimidated by Villa’s body of work. I own both The Anchored Angel: Selected Writings by Jose Garcia Villa (Kaya, 1999) and Doveglion: Collected Poems of José Garcia Villa (Penguin, 2008). I even own a very old hardcover edition of Volume Two (New Directions, 1949), which was TYPO3 a gift from Villa to my uncle, who was Villa’s personal physician ограниченной and friend, and who then passed it on to me. I leaf through these volumes regularly (well, not the old one; I don’t want to damage it); I read aloud his comma poems, reverse consonance poems and aphorisms. I admire them for their innovation. As an educator, I have led discussions on Villa’s poems with students. I ask them to tell me how the poems make sense to them. I explain to them what’s happening in the poems 23ain on the craft level; I hear their utterances of realization. I wonder if in discussing craft I’ve helped them understand the content of the poems. Oftentimes, I doubt that I have the vocabulary to discuss the poems in a coherent way.

I take comfort in thinking that perhaps I understand Doveglion, the name and the country. I know why it appeals to me. To be Manifesto of a “strange country with no wholesale nfl jerseys boundaries,” a country “that moves to follow fire,” for me is to exist in a state of aspiration. Sure, to be breathing! But more so, to possess the strong desire to achieve something greater than the individual self, to be liminal and simultaneously reaching and growing, to struggle through the trappings of nostalgia,  sentimentality, and the “I.” This is how to elevate the art.


Now I’m asking myself, “But how is this political?”

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