Young Love & Other Stories I The Fountain

 April 18, 2022

Review of Young Love, Felix Calvino's new offering.

Open any volume of Tang dynasty poets and you will often find their inner spirits and those of mountains and rivers illumining one another. Li Bai, for instance, lived for a while as a hermit lost among craggy peaks. Across hollow gorges, tones from his flute echoed. Deer flocked to him, licking pine nuts from the palms of his hands and rubbing their necks against the trunks of fragrant pines. The intimate relationship between the landscape and Bai's creativity is captured in his life’s most enduring image: of himself, one evening, attempting to embrace the full moon’s reflection in a lake.
Even in lonely rooms, lost within the din of busy cities, William Wordsworth would reminisce on the beauteous forms of the English countryside, of the whispers of springs flowing among steep and lofty cliffs, of orchards of pastoral farms green to their very doors. These images opened a door within the poet wherein, with his blood and very breath stilled, he became a living soul.
For Bi and Wordsworth, the inner luminosity of the landscape provides a spiritual commons, a source of creativity any artist can reflect to nurture inspiration.
For the past several thousand years, vast swaths of the Iberian Peninsula have served as commons. Within the forested folds of a Galician village, some of the characters in Felix Calvino's latest volume, Young Love, often alone, and often at night, discover within the hinterlands of their hearts, a secret, living fountain of creativity. The only authority needed to put this bounty to use is to do so.
As usual, Felix does so masterfully.

Reviewed in the United States on January 10, 2022