Author(s): Ange Mlinko
In Distant Mandate, Ange Mlinko moves constantly to and fro: from the tormented Southern landscape with its alternately arid and flooded scrublands to the landscape of Texas, remembered Mediterranean scenes, and the imagined settings of Western art. Guided by her spiritual forebears--Orpheus, Mallarmé, Pound, Yeats, and others--Mlinko deftly places herself within the tradition of the poet in protest against the obduracy of the real yet enraptured in the torment of Eros.Mlinko takes her title from a piece by László Krasznahorkai on the unknowable origins of the Alhambra, the monument "for the sight of which there is only a distant mandate . . . [One] can see, in any event, the moment of creation of the world, of course all the while understanding nothing of it." This distant mandate, also the "bitter ideal" of Mallarmé, is the foundation upon which all works of art are composed--always shaking and ever shifting. Myth is central to these poems; some are based on the story of Cupid and Psyche, others serve as odes to Aphrodite or explorations of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. In Distant Mandate, Mlinko has given us a shimmering and vibrant collection, one that shows us not only how literature imagines itself through life but also how life reimagines itself through literature.