Reciprocal Distillations 2007, a collection of poems on art and artists, including Caravaggio, Leon Golub,
Unica Zurn, Henri Michaux, Corot, Joan Mitchell, Henry Darger, African sculpture, Neolithic standing stones,
and the Upper Paleolithic Chauvet Cave
Reciprocal Distillations is the second book of Eshleman’s own poetry to appear since he published his lifelong
translation project of the great Peruvian poet Cesar Vallejo. Each poem in Reciprocal Distillations is written
in response to a visual artist, a practice that Eshleman has engaged frequently since his 1967 book Walks.
Using a density of image that supplements the act of viewing, whether a Henry Darger panel
(“No matter how many carnivores he releases, / the Vivian Girls are trillion in a field.”);
or a classic Caravaggio, each poem produces an indelible image of the original.
Eshleman’s language in response to the visual is an intense and sometimes playful distillation of experience.