This hand that holds the fire on “Traction-Brabant” by Patrice Maltaverne

“Published by Éditions Exopotamie, in its Éclats collection, “This hand that holds the fire” by Tom Saja is his fourth collection of poetry published in the space of... a year (by different publishers)!

What interested me most in this book was its progression. Here, the true unity of the collection does not reside in each prose poem that composes it, which could be described as a sequence, but in all the texts which constitute such a progression.

Thus, it is a very cinematic road movie, thanks to the visual images which situate it in space.

Besides, each text goes very quickly. It hardly focuses on the present moment, except in the very last part. That’s what I really liked. At the beginning it's the past, and at the end of the book, it's already the future. And in the middle, there is this lake, represented several times in an abstract way.

The multiplication of points of view also seems to be part of this rapid rhythm: most of the time, the "we" wins, but also the "you" (which is not you), sometimes the I (not too , he tends to fade away) and finally the "he", in the last texts.

It goes so quickly that the author gives the impression of taking the entire human species with him since prehistory: “This hand that holds the fire”, literally. With the love of trapper bivouacs in the style of Jack London.

This odyssey, however expeditious it may be (around a hundred pages long), nevertheless does not lack lyricism, which adds momentum to the progression of the writing.

This is evidenced, for example, by this poem, taken from “This Hand That Holds the Fire”, by Tom Saja:

"Some days
we were just hot tea on the edge of the
than a mountain of junk under the teeth of a
footsteps in the sand that the gusts erased
right away
blood on the brambles of the shortcuts
a tiny wave
a crippled wrinkle on a clown's forehead"

The cover illustration is by Xarli Zurell.

If you would like to purchase “This hand that holds the fire”, by Tom Saja, which is sold at the price of €17, go to the publisher’s website: products/this-hand-that-holds-the-fire"

Patrice Maltaverne

Article published on Traction-Brabant on September 4, 2022: