Blanca Andreu: Recovering the Lost Language
University of California, Los Angeles
Abstract: This article situates Blanca Andreu in the panorama of recent poetry in Spain and focuses on her concern with language as related to meaning and reality. Her first two volumes, De una niña de provincias que se vino a vivir en un Chagall and Báculo de Babel, employ dreamlike imagery, fragmented syntax, and highly challenging use of language, while Elphistone, her third collection, is a sort of epic poem of more translucent and �natural� language patterns. Whether Andreu is defending language as inherently possessed of meaning, or lamenting language's incapacity to convey meaning, all of her work is unified by a desire for truth and spiritual illumination.
Key Words: 20th century, Andreu (Blanca), Spanish poetry
The signposts marking the road map of recent Spanish poetry point to a topography that is nothing if not diverse and dynamic. The 1970 publication of José María Castellet's much-discussed Nueve novísimos identified a group of young writers (Guillermo Carnero, Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, and Pedro Gimferrer, among others) who veered from the directions taken by their immediate predecessors, the Generation of the 50s (Francisco Brines, Ángel González, José Ángel Valente, Gloria Fuertes, Claudio Rodríguez, Jaime Gil de Biedma). Typically, the earlier poets employed very personal styles and subjective points of view to address questions of reality and existence, and to evince social and ethical preoccupations. The �novísimos�, however, aspired to liberate their art from the romantic tradition whereby poetry served to transmit ethical or ideological messages, expose psychological and emotional concerns in a confessional voice, and otherwise reproduce extratextual �reality�. The highly estheticized and learned �new sensibility� of the �novísimos� was manifest both in a reverence for the icons of high culture (classical antiquity, Spanish and universal modernity, surrealism, vanguardism) and in a fascination with the myths of contemporary consumer society (cinema and rock music, the mass media, camp) (Castellet). Carnero, one of the most prominent of the �novísimos� has asserted that such culturalism was far from being a merely gratuitous and superficial show of erudition. On the contrary, it reflected a concept of poetry that required of writer and reader new ways of interacting in order to generate meaning (Carnero 12-13). The �novísimos�, whose numbers expanded into what came to be called �la promoción del 70� viewed poetry as an evolving reality separate from the external world. Language and the very act of producing poetry were among the issues they self-consciously chose to explore.
As the decade of the seventies progressed, the panorama became more complex. For example, the schism between the �promotion del 70� and the previous fifties generation was dissolving. This was due to two concurrent developments. First, some of the rigidity that characterized the younger writers' rather depersonalized aesthetics gave way to admit life and experience as part of the ongoing poetic process (Jiménez 27). On the other hand, the older poets, still vigorously productive, began to display an increasing awareness of the multiple layers and rich textures available in language, especially by means of irony and intertextuality.
At about the same time as this rapprochement was occurring, yet another wave of writers was appearing on the already crowded landscape. All born around 1950, this new group began to publish in the midseventies.  Called variously �La tercera mutación� or �los del 80� (Siles), �los postnovísimos� (Villena) or �poetas del resurgimiento� (Víctor Pozanco in Sanz Villanueva 463), they included poets of widely diverging styles, joined nonetheless by their rediscovery of the Spanish poetic tradition. They read with renewed appreciation, for instance, Unamuno and Manuel Machado as well as the generation of 1936. In defiance of the �novísimos�, they rescued rhyme and fixed metrical and strophic forms from oblivion. Rejecting not only the ostentatious tendencies of culturalism but also the cold pleasures of metapoetry, they began to see their art as yet another arena in which to pursue a range of personal experiences; they simultaneously insisted that poetry was a world of its own, an autonomous entity. Much as had Brines, Gil de Biedma, and other newly-dubbed �masters� of the mid-century generation, the eighties poets rediscovered the interior monologue as a way of mining the deeper veins of lyric expression and in turn the wellspring of their own emotions. Designating exactly which names complete the roster of �los del 80� is a �risk�, according to one critic (Jiménez 30), and a question �que nadie en su sano juicio puede hoy todavía responder�, according to another (Siles 157). Still, a tentative and very partial list might include Julio Llamazares, Julia Castillo, Luis García Montero, and Blanca Andreu. (16)
Blanca Andreu, the subject of this essay, is considered the very first among the �postnovísimos� (Villena 25), combining many of the diverse strains enumerated in the necessarily abbreviated and simplified summary above. The cornerstones of her poetry include the following: culturalism alongside everyday experience and language; acceptance of Spanish traditions and forms together with esteem for other literatures; emphatically emotive resonances; construction of a self-contained poetic world by dint of imagination and fantasy. In sum, Andreu's verses possess the openness and pluralism, the �conciliating and syncretic character� which are signs of postmodern art (Jiménez 34). (17)
Blanca Andreu emerged as an important presence on the Spanish literary horizon with the 1980 publication of De una niña de provincias que se vino a vivir en un Chagall. Recipient of the respected Premio Adonais for that collection, she was lauded for the piercing intimacy of her youthful voice, and for the startling imagery and hallucinatory flights of lyric fancy comparable to the language of the surrealists. The mystic overtones in her poetry did not escape notice (Umbral, Newton) and, to be sure, De una niña de provincias... parallels the path of mystic progress by tracing the protagonist's figurative descent into darkness, her transformation by cleansing fires, and her eventual ascent into a space illuminated by the radiance of poetic vision.
Despite the serious intentions of the author, much of the attention accorded Andreu's initial poetic venture focused instead on her apparently off-handed familiarity with drugs and alcohol (Miró), and on the titillating sexual fantasies of the eponymous provincial girl. This extra-literary interest on the part of Spanish readers in a twenty-one year old female writer who spoke in knowing terms of such provocative matters may have confused the poet with her fictitious counterpart, or worse still, obscured the larger issues at stake in Andreu's verses. In fact, all of her works, though written in distinct poetic modalities, revolve around common concerns. De una niña de provincias..., a semi-autobiographical journey from restrictive reality into liberating artistic spheres, echoes the vocabulary of mysticism, the syntax and imagery of surrealism, and the rhetoric of eroticism and intoxication preferred by the French poètes maudits (Sherno, �Between Water and Fire�). The prose poems of Báculo de Babel (1982), with their incantatory style and repetitive rhythms, recreate a mythology or religious ritual in which poetry is linked with the origins and ends of human existence. Elphistone (1988) has the flavor of an epic poem and narrates a quest for the roots of knowledge and power. (18) Mysticism, surrealism, drugs, myth: whatever her themes and forms, Andreu's writing, like  much of recent Spanish poetry, foregrounds the problematic dynamics functioning among poetry, language, and reality. Her purpose is to obviate the world of the senses in order to summon imaginary worlds that hearken back to a kind of archetypal utopia, beyond the divisions and imperfections implied by time, history, and language. (19) Andreu perceives, perhaps as acutely as any poet of the Spanish Baroque, a world of illusory and deceptive appearances, and joins this most venerated of traditional themes with the postmodern inquiry into the nature of language and into the ability of language to represent reality. On the one hand, her verses reflect a faith that words and poetry can impart meaning in a world that is arbitrary and constantly shifting. On the other hand, Andreu is aware that poetic language is a house of mirrors erected by �[los] arquitectos de nada, artífices de lo fugitivo� (�Poética� 91); as such, poetry can only widen the breach between words and the reality they pretend to represent. (20) This essay examines Blanca Andreu's concept of words and reality as intimately intertwined, and explores the ways she elaborates a poetic vision that is unified despite such contradictory perspectives. Whether defending language as a self-contained reality inherently possessed of meaning; or expressing skepticism regarding language's ability to convey meaning at all, her preoccupation regarding the responsibilities of poetry and language confers upon her work a deeply moral dimension. Ultimately, Blanca Andreu's poetry is a search for illumination in order to arrive at the essential truths and meanings concealed behind words.
Furthermore, the oscillation between the view of language as sole purveyor of meaning in an otherwise meaningless world, and the contrary view of language as yet another illusion within an illusory dream-world is concordant with the paradox, ambivalence, and ambiguity which are hallmarks of Andreu's work as a whole. To begin with, the milieux encountered repeatedly in her verses -at once primitive, futuristic, or vaguely contemporary- exemplify the pervasiveness of paradox and ambiguity, and demonstrate the way the poet fabricates a reality possible only within the confines of language. (21) The ominous sea captain Elphistone, for one, skulks among statues and fountains in the shadows of Madrid's Hotel Wellington; surrounded by nature, he is also prone to strange gnostic practices that include reading the future in the moon. The provincial girl likewise traverses landscapes recognizable either as urban or natural environments, or both at once. All of Andreu's verses abound with references to houses and palaces, walls and balconies, statues and structures that denote the work of culture and civilization. The poet describes her own youthful body as a monument (�mi cuerpo de arco cuya clave es ninguna� [N 22], or a temple (�Con la cabeza llena de ojivas y de moho y llanto gótico� [B 31]) She is, like those edifices, an artificial construct.
Against such visions are balanced other scenes replete with images, often threatening but just as often tender, of wild nature: poisonous plant life of all kinds, birds and beasts, winged insects and crawling creatures. This bestiary, however, does not refer to any creature, whether living or extinct, actually found in nature; on the contrary, its referents are exclusively fictive, as imaginatively constructed as the architecture that figures so importantly in Andreu's poetic world. The unicorn �[que] hablaba de arte y prefería a Tiépolo� and the �dulces lebreles [que] inventaban el fuego� (B 13) lack reality in any phenomenal sense, but rather are conceived in the spirit of those stories of creation which in ancient mythology explain the birth of poetry. What is central to Andreu is poetry itself; textual reality is granted authority and preeminence over the world outside the text. Hence, her verses portray environments and entities that are devoid of reality, including �un rojo que no existe� (B 11), �el oro que no existe� (B 53); in short, �todo lo que me inexiste� (N 38).
Andreu's poetic self is also an utterly ambiguous and paradoxical figure, a �niña antigua� (N 25), without memory yet inevitably  burdened by time: �Puedo jurar que soy la más antigua olvidadora del nuevo pecado, la más joven entre la prudencia de los cuerpos del mundo� (B 31). She too is lacking in material reality, a �niña pluscuamperfecta, niña que nunca fuimos� (N 62). In �Cinco poemas para abdicar� she casts off the varied forms and structures of culture and society, and calls for the death of her own material being. Dressed in nuptial white, she calls to mind the mystic bride, exemplar of �un amor destinado... a la no realización� (Newton 200). The nuptial parade becomes a �galop[e] en negro... /... / y sin espuelas, y sin bridas� (N 31), and therefore returns to the horse its mythological value as the vehicle of passage between earth and sky. The fifth and final segment of �Cinco poemas para abdicar� is dedicated to the horse, whose deathly skull appears imaginatively transfigured as that of �mi antigua paloma� (N 32), recalling the Holy Spirit and, by extension, the grace of inspiration by which the poet is transported beyond matter to spirit. Looking past the manifestations of the physical world, Andreu's provincial girl exchanges the white of the earthly bride for black, �porque negro es el color de los sueños� (N 31). (22) Indeed, as we are told in the first poem of De una niña de provincias..., her most enduring desire is to live inside her dreams, within a purely esthetic reality:
|Di que querías ser caballo esbelto, nombre|
|de algún caballo mítico,|
|o acaso nombre de tristán, y oscuro.|
|Dilo, caballo griego, que querías ser estatua desde|
|hace diez mil años,|
|que habrías querido ser en tales cosas,|
|morirte en su substancia, ser columna.|
Andreu's vision of the world is that of a maze whose curves and passages she negotiates only with the aid of poetry, her Báculo de Babel. The very title of this volume of prose poems, styled in the enigmatic manner of Rimbaud's Illuminations, suggests that poetry in particular and language in general are keys for unlocking the truths and mysteries concealed within labyrinthian reality. As in Jorge Luis Borges, whose presence is felt in much of Andreu's work, a recurrent theme is the interlocking of two infinitely paradoxical operations: the metamorphosis of world into text, the transformation of text into world (Merrell 234-37). (23) Hers is an �amor de sueño quebradizo, amor de libro múltiple, amor innumerable� (B 16). The world is an illusion, fragmented and diffuse; it is a book or text, variable and infinite. Within herself (and by implication within her poetry) she simultaneously senses singularity and multiplicity. �Tengo... labios innumerables�, she declares (B 25). At the same time, she feels part of a generation, but she is the lone member: �Lloro sobre una generación que soy yo sola� (B 31); �lloro sobre una generación que es la mía y no existe� (B 29).
Inevitably, such contrary conditions become entangled in Andreu's work. Her poetic universe is an Alephic space where paradoxes (time and infinity, origins and ends, presence and absence) converge and intersect. She aspires, for example, to detach her poetry from the shadow of the past (�No importan ya las reglas de los lenguajes erguidos lo que precede a la poesía�), even though the past is itself variable and cannot be destroyed: �el pasado estará con nosotros� (B 21). Imitating the labyrinth of the world, her poetry is a sort of palindrome that perpetually expands and contracts, collapsing within itself all of time: �Nuestras ausencias como alianzas parecidas a las estaciones poéticas al acercamiento imposible de las edades de la palabra� (B 23). (24) Her verses, containing their own history, together compose a language which she paradoxically envisions as archaic and primitive but also new, freshly purified and divested of past meanings. This is Andreu's �lengua reciente� (B 41), her �lengua micénica quemándose� (B 25). (25) Correspondingly, the poet imagines her desire for poetry as a vertical descent through the archeology of time, even as the past rises to meet her in an upward arc: �los padres y las madres que alzan hacia mí las nomenclaturas y sus extensiones primeras� (B 31). She conceives of her art as a self-contained �poema oval� (N 38) or �obra esqueleto� (N 46)  whose secret syllables are written in �tinta de helecho virgen� (N 57): that is, like the fern (helecho) whose reproductive organs are hidden from view, her poetry is present but invisible, existing in a perpetual state of potential or immanence.
The confluence of opposites makes of language itself an almost impenetrable labyrinth. To exercise her art, according to Blanca Andreu, is thus to attempt to unravel the enigma of the labyrinth. Andreu refers often in her verses to words, language, and poetry as cabalistic riddles to be deciphered. Báculo de Babel opens with this quotation from the Greek Nobel prize-winner, Odiseas Elitis: �Sé que todo esto no es nada y que la lengua que hablo no tiene alfabeto� (19). Her dream of a language innocent of the strata of meanings and associations intervening between words and the reality they represent takes the form of inscriptions in clay (B 39), or angles and letters that hang from the skies (B 35). In her role of prophet or seer, she attempts to divine the past's �recursos clandestinos� (B 21), to read �lápidas y piedras curvas� (B 53), to interpret �tordos embajadores, mensajes mirlos� (B 14). (26)
Andreu's desire to retrieve this arcane language is most powerfully conveyed in the mysterious figure of Elphistone, an allegorical character who incarnates the theme of universal human knowledge. Although inspired by any one of the family of admirals whose name is a part of British naval history, Elphistone is more imaginary than real, and is enveloped in an aura of myth and legend (Ugalde, �Conversación� 255-56; Wilcox 108). (27) Elphistone is from the first an ambiguous character, both heroic and nefarious, appearing in scenes that are simultaneously ancient and modern. His seafaring past hints of traffic in spices and slaves, and sacrifices of humans and animals (E 31). He is defined not by compasses and telescopes, nor by the winds and stars that guide seafarers, but by cosmic forces, especially death, night, and darkness. Called �el sombrío capitán Elphistone� (E 20), he is also �dios de nada� (E 36) and �señor de los sueños� (E 59). Cold and stone-like, he is reminiscent of Shelley's �colossal wreck�, Ozymandias (418), or of Blake's malefic demiurge, Urizen, in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. (28) In one striking scene he rises out of seafoam, his enormous head haloed by a majestic growth of beard, like Neptune surveying the oceans (E 43). The ocean, Elphistone's natural habitat, is linked with the unconscious and the soul; by analogy, the character himself signifies dreams, the imagination, poetry. A thief and abductor described repeatedly by fire and ashes (E 33-39), Elphistone revives the myth of Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods, and symbolizes creativity and knowledge (Bachelard 7-12; Cirlot 101). Elphistone is, like Prometheus, human and daemonic, �ángel y buho, en secreto concierto� (E 26). He is a vampire (�Je suis de mon coeur le vampire� [E 67]) (29) who transcends death but devours his knowledge of immortality and thereby conceals it from lesser beings. Compared again and again to horses and tigers, he brings to mind those dream creatures which for Jorge Luis Borges possess the secrets of immortality and eternity. At once a stallion and a mare and thus embracing all of human sexuality, in his ever-vigilant eyes �[brilla] el fuego/de la verdad y la belleza� (E 49). In verses uncannily resembling those in which William Blake imagined the tiger �in the forests of the night� (55), Andreu likewise imagines Elphistone as the fearsome face of creation:
|Qué señor de las noches, qué guerreros, qué|
|qué silencio crecido en un secreto...|
|Qué estaciones donde nada hay y ningún|
|aquella música lejana, aquellos ojos que brillan|
|como dos animales vivos. (E 20)|
Not unlike the tiger and the horse in Blake and Borges, Elphistone embodies the mysteries of reality and existence swallowed up by time and history. Half-man, half-beast, he is an apocalyptic Minotaur in the labyrinth, �bramando entre los escollos/entre  indicios de peste y malos augurios� (E 63). He knows the secrets of life and eternity, dreams �sueños de verdad y de muerte� (E 44). His messages are contained in enigmatic hexameters (E 63), in �funestas cábalas� (E 44), in
|advertencias, consejos, noticias que en la memoria|
|se asientan con indiferencia, desmedidos sueños|
|que ya no son nada. (E 64)|
Elphistone's language is comparable to runes or the ancient eddas, which represented an accumulation of the Northern world's history, mythology, lore, and wisdom. In Andreu's conception, the pirate's language is �un lenguaje desconocido, más misterioso que el sueco� (E 50); hence it is unfathomable to mere mortals: �Nadie supo su signo / ni su símbolo� (E 50). Of this unknown language there remain only traces, in the form of �recuerdos refulgiendo sobre el lomo del mar�, �oleajes de postrimerías�, �huellas�, �ruinas� (E 20, 21, 25, 27); �despojos�, �sucios velámenes y estandartes raídos� (E 43, 44); �pecios de viejos libros, de otros navíos� (E 67). That is, ashes from the fires in which cultures have been consumed; relics of that knowledge whose loss, according to Blanca Andreu, explains the shipwreck of civilization.
It is this recondite language that Andreu hopes to ransom by means of her own poetic art. Poetry is the key to decipher the secret knowledge which she likens to mystic illumination. For the sake of enlightenment, she must endure the flames of her own vía purgativa (�el fuego o el otro fuego�) (B 45), (30) and die to the world: �Hay claraboyas nuevas en la lírica muerte� (B 13). Just as the mystic abandons the world of the senses in his path towards la vía unitiva, the poet's desire is to extinguish her material temporality for the sake of that �paradisíaco presente eterno� in which the contradictions and divisions effected by human history are resolved and unified (Paz 32). Andreu's desire to unite fragile words and essential truths, external appearances and a more transcendent reality coincides with her ultimate poetic purpose: �Mi idioma�, she says, �busca un siglo salvaje, una ausencia de signos, un pensamiento infecundo� (B 51). That Báculo de Babel was awarded the 1982 Premio Fernando Rielo de Poesía Mística is not surprising in light of the poet's nostalgia for the original oneness of words and the world: to return to a world without signs is to obliterate divisiveness and fragmentation, to restore the innocence of Eden before the fall (Brogan 84).
Central to this mission is Andreu's very conception of poetry, which in her view occupies �la vasta vuelta de todo� (B 25). �Mi creación tendida al dorso de los libros�: her poetic text is a metaphor for the Text of the world (B 31). From the beginning of her literary career, Andreu has intuited the possibility of seeing through the dense surface of words, of elucidating the truths and meanings occluded behind the appearance of things. As she proclaims in De una niña de provincias...:
|Algo falta y hay que ponerle un nombre,|
|creer en la poesía, y en la intolerancia de la poesía,|
|y decir niña|
|o decir nube, adelfa,|
|decir desesperada vena sola, cosas así, casi reliquias,|
|casi lejos. (N 20)|
This sense -that words are merely �relics� of a knowledge now lost to humankind- is at work in Andreu's poetry from her first publications to her most recent, even in view of radical shifts over the course of her poetic evolution. De una niña de provinicias... and Báculo de Babel, for example, are both remarkable for language made nearly incoherent by deliberately obscure referents, the sort of ruptured syntax favored by the surrealists, and lexical items ostensibly joined only by rhyme or alliteration (�barba bárbara de Babilonia� is only one of numerous examples [N 22]). In both of these works, language functions as an autonomous, hermetic entity, at an almost impossible remove from empirical reality. Indeed, she employs words like so many pebbles or rocks which together create a nearly impenetrable, opaque surface beneath which there is, seemingly, no depth.  Even so, the very opacity of the language paradoxically enables the poet's search for truth and meaning. Andreu divines in words a kind of music of the spheres (�un piano terso como una estrella, estrellas�), a spiritual harmony lacking in the chaotic maze of earthly reality. �[Las] palabras como estrellas� (N 21) are for her the only lasting source of truth and light. The phenomenal world, she cautions, is arbitary and illusory, comprised of deceptive appearances and �objeto[s]... mentira[s]� (B 52).
If Blanca Andreu's first two volumes represent the view that language alone possesses and transmits meaning, then Elphistone, her most recent collection, evinces the opposite notion that language has lost its ability to signify in any enduring way. Conspicuously missing from Elphistone are the fragmented syntax and disjunctive sentence patterns, the tortured tone and the dreamlike torrent of imagery that lend the earlier poetry its distinctly surrealistic cast. The syntactically and lexically more translucent manner adopted in Elphistone, along with its conscious narrativity and the unifying presence of the charismatic antihero embarking on his mysterious odyssey, makes of this collection a quasi-epic that evokes the �natural� patterns encountered in ancient oral poetry. According to Andreu, the nearness of the ancients to the eternal truths is reflected in their language, one as yet untainted by divisive signs and still uncompromised by �second-order meaning[s]� (Barthes, WDZ 84). In the language of the early bards, words and their meanings converge. Therefore, by tracing her way back to the epic, Andreu attempts to erase what Roland Barthes has termed the �existential geology� of modern poetry, the �totality of meanings, reflexes and recollection� that history interposes between words and meanings (WDZ 47). Andreu's intention is for poetry to overcome the mediating properties of language in order to reach �not the meaning of words, but the meaning of things themselves� (M 133). For her part, Andreu's poetry constitutes a passage through �el olvido favorable y lineal... en cinco longitudes� (B 41). It is a process of excavation through the layers of language to arrive at the illumination enclosed within �el arco encendido de un hexámetro� (B 51), her variation of the hexagon which for Borges represents �the imperfect facsimile of divine perfection� (Merrell 200).
Nevertheless, this dream of merging words and meanings, imperfect reality and divine perfection, remains frustrated because of the antithetical forces of unity and divisiveness at work within language. At its core, language implies a desire to unify sign and signified; that is, to represent directly the natural world. Yet this unifying impulse is unavoidably thwarted, since meaning can only be conveyed in proportion to language's capacity to delineate distinctions. (31) According to Paul De Man, it is language's peculiar privilege, but also its curse, to hide what it wishes to reveal. Striving to wed sign and meaning, language instead becomes an irreducible membrane, a �screen... that constitutes a world of intricate intersubjective relationships, all of them potentially inauthentic� (11). Words are at best only metaphors or figures; the availability of ultimate truths is only an illusion. The world itself loses its reality and becomes another �figura de lenguaje� with a hollow or silence at its core (Paz 106).
Whereas Andreu's first two volumes of poetry signal her implicit trust in language as a self-contained repository of meaning, Elphistone betrays a loss of faith in the illuminative potential of language. In the spirit of Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire, Andreu judges her verses a faint echo of the first stirrings of lyric expression, such as that of early Norse writings. (32) By the same token, human destiny is �un pálido fuego� (E 45), �[una] débil llama� (E 54) when compared with divine immortality; a moon inevitably overshadowed by the sun. The conflict between the poet's desire for unity and the impossibility of achieving it accounts for the sense of failure and fragmentation already present at the end of Báculo de Babel �no hay inocencia, / ala arcaica de una batalla doble y perdida� (53). And the halting, almost inarticulate final words of Elphistone confirm how far from her dream of unity  Andreu knows her own poetry to be:
|...quién -bajo los Ángeles rapaces|
|ordena la inmortalidad, examina las pérdidas,|
|los prejuicios y aseveraciones|
|que nunca, en ningún lugar, por más qué o|
a pesar de. (67)
All of Blanca Andreu's poetic art represents a desire to fuse the visible world with hidden significations, to unearth the lost language of innocence and unity that will unveil utopian harmonies. Loss of that language has made of human knowledge a mere shadow of divine omniscience; of the transient material world, it has made a pale fire of immortality. Andreu's verses challenge language's capacity to shed fight on reality, even at the risk of discovering in �reality� yet another illusion. Like Shelley's Ozymandias standing among the shards of civilization, or Borges's magus amid the circular ruins -like her own dark pirate, Elphistone, receding into the ocean depths- the poet dreams of recovering a language in which appearance merges with reality, in which text is joined with world, in which word and meaning are one. 
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