Both José García Villa’s admirers and his detractors agree on the essential inwardness of his poetry. For the latter, this is a symptom of narcissism hardly useful to the urgent needs of a newly independent nation. For the former, it is a sign of a transcendent mysticism whose universality should be given priority over nationalism. The poet himself declared that he was not at all interested in externals, “nor in the contemporary scene, but in essence.” His dominant concern was not description but metaphysics, a penetration of the inner maze of humankind’s identity within the entire “mystery of creation.”
The poems themselves, however, often suggest something less than such perfection and therefore something more exciting: purification-in-process, the sensual nature in humans struggling to survive transfiguration. The body strains to avoid emasculation even as the spirit ascends. Consequently, the flesh seems glorified, although not in any ordinary spiritual manner that would diminish the splendor of the sense. Sitwell, in her preface to The American Genius (1951), refers to this paradox as an expression of “absolute sensation,” mingling a “strange luminosity” with a “strange darkness.” Villa himself best epitomized the blinding heat of this attempted fusion by repeatedly adopting the persona/pseudonym Doveglion: a composite Dove-eagle-lion.
Many Voices and Poems by Doveglion
(The entire section is 2500 words.)
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