Dane Cervine’s The World Is God’s Language is rich with both wit and wisdom. His paired prose poems are like snapshots, each one revealing an unexpected insight. The poet’s perception of each moment’s synchronistic interaction with eternal themes reflects his grounding in the Beat tradition as well as Buddhist precepts. Sometimes sexy and irreverent, always deeply philosophical, these poems are steeped in the place and the culture of Northern California while ranging the world from Japan to Bali, Indonesia to India, Central America to the American South. As we travel with him, Cervine’s capacious awareness subtly illuminates every experience. Generous and humane, the work in this collection reminds the reader that poetry can be both joyous and profound.
If we imagine the world as a flipbook, each page—each moment—merging into coherence as it flutters through time, it can be discomfiting to try and apprehend a single, discrete moment frozen in the cascade. That is why Dane Cervine’s poems often create a sense of vertigo as the reader is lifted out of the surge of a fractious reality and given an opportunity to contemplate distinct moments isolated from the clamor and roar. Cervine reveals a sanctified world built of memory, history, and grace, where God is evanescent, transient but eternal, and where, Cervine makes clear, we are “just visiting.”
—Gary Young, author of That’s What I Thought
These little visions wander freely between the focused clarity of Chinese poetry and the genial musings of Montaigne. Humane, engaging, informal in the best sense, they offer us a world of dazzling scope and depth, from a California childhood to the temples of Kyoto and the coral reefs of Bali.
—Dan Veach, author of Elephant Water and Lunchboxes
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