No word, no expression could body forth
the kind of relation in which she stood to me--my more than sister, since till death she was to be mine only.
And as I strive to body forth
the tale Of all I suffer, all that thou hast done, Forth shall the dread voice roll, and bear along Shreds from my vitals torn for greater pain.
But from whatever cause, the tendency hardened into a ruling convention; thousands upon thousands of medieval manuscripts seem to declare that the world is a mirage of shadowy forms, or that it exists merely to body forth
remote and highly surprising ideas.
I'm not settled about whether this phenomenon--a poem expressing a will of its own--needs to be interrogated, or whether I'd prefer my posture toward it to remain reverent and wishful, meaning I want-but must wait--to be inside of a poem that has a will I must attend to, make way for, and body forth
. I know it's an archaic term, but "bodying forth" might be as close as I can come to describing this phenomenon.
It is a tribute to the work that the story itself, as it emerges--menacing, elemental, partway mad--is strong enough to carry these sensual details, to body forth
from them and gain speed, pulling a focused complexity in its wake back to recognizable life, to healthy reality.
The second part, "Identity and Interpretation," moves more speculatively to query the epistemic and affective differences that play between versions of Borges' texts: philosophical frames of meaning generated by Borges's work, literary critical interpretations that seek to unravel linguistic puzzles and the gestures of style they embody, and visualizations of the stories that body forth
even more capacious framings of the experience of reading Borges's fiction.
Of course, it is not immediately clear in what sense this impulse might in fact be female, and the recent show did not body forth
a ready answer.
"No word survives the color of the deep," Volkman writes, "this black unsinging"; yet these sonnets body forth
demanding vocal performance.