Sometimes we tire of longing before we remember the sadness that takes its place. But movement is where to take up longing again. While it moves, a hummingbird is an absurd and bewitching animal. Maryse Larivière allows desire all its dignity in Hummzinger, a torch song in flight. “Let me love you”, the poem opens, a generous proposal that never becomes a 'love me' plea. Composed from the words of her letters in travel, the poem is a collection of expectation.
Larivière’s accompanying line drawings of hummingbirds are empty but closed, bringing us to that euphoric paradox where hope and certainty come together. To know that the line drawings are tracings of stuffed specimens from the Royal Ontario Museum brings to mind what it means to document so much pleasure.
While Hummzinger retains its optimism in every moment, “like an ice cream sandwich/in black velour,” the book is to be held and read repeatedly, in memory. The book binds more than the feelings it hold, yet we incessantly return to the cause of those feelings. Loving, the stuffing of longing, is here, even where the line drawings ask what they would contain.
- Lena Suksi