DON QUIXOTE’S IMPOSSIBLE DREAM
To Every Man His Dulcinea, To Every Woman Her Don Quixote
Grzan, David P.
AuthorHouse (164 pp.)
$25.49 hardcover, $15.49 paperback, $3.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-1467037013; December 20, 2011
An exuberant “poem cycle” born from Grzan’s fixation with Don Quixote, the quintessential romantic obsessive.
These 25 verses, based upon the “romantic imaginings” of Cervantes’ errant knight, begin with a simple question: “How may I treat and retail our love?” Answers roll along in a series of grandly chivalrous, free-verse monologues alternating with illustrations and maxims, many by Cervantes. Straying a bit from the well-worn narrative, Grzan at first seems to be tilting at windmills with his “metaphrastic interpretation enciphered in an excursive tribute.” He dedicates himself as unconditionally to this epic poem as the “gallant idealist” of La Mancha did to Dulcinea del Toboso. “Beauteous is she / By all mentions,” Grzan writes of the lady; she also has a “pertinent flair for bon mots,” “unpretentious airs” and a “largesse” of “heart”—as does Grzan. Despite his eccentric flourishes and exhibitionistic vocabulary, many of his verses, such as “Endurability of Tenderness” and “Conduct in Action,” stand alone as gentle love poems. The graceful “Family to Cherish” would work well in a wedding service. Aside from the “magnetism of marriage,” Grzan also touches on “motherly affections” and the “placating for one’s own patrimonial memes.” Despite allusions ranging from mythology to Zen Buddhism, the verses espouse the Christian fervor of Cervantes and his creation; borrowing a word from Grzan, they tend to be homiletic. Some use repetition, and a few fall into easy, unexpected rhyme, while others, in the style of their inspiration, use wordplay, often with multilingual exclamations like “Ixnay Pieta!” and “Faith and Begorrah! Coup de foudre!” Almost all act as riddles, requiring repeated and extensive readings to fully comprehend. Toward this end, Grzan includes a 39-page “Annotations and Glossary” to help explain more than a thousand references, words and phrases, running the gamut from Greek to Yiddish. While it’s helpful for words such as “ipseity,” “hegira” and “eudemonia,” and for archaic phrases like “Once a drayman to my fardels,” it’s superfluous for definitions of “limbo,” “statuesque” and “incorporate.” Strangely, Grzan steers clear of Spanish: “[O]ut of respect, I have left the Spanish language, by and large, reserved to Cervantes.”
Artful but dense inspiration plucked and translated from the head of the legendary madman.
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