PBS Recommendation - Winter 2016
Void Studies, Rachael Boast's extraordinary new collection, realizes a project that the French Symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud had proposed, but never got round to writing. Études néanteswas to consist of poems written as musical études; these would not convey any direct message, but instead summon the abstract spirit of their subject.
This 'impossible project' has been completed by Boast in the most astonishing way: these tone poems are indeed works of pure music - but despite their esoteric nature, are by no means 'difficult': instead they conjure the recognizable states, emotions, moods, ambiances and strange atmospheres that lend our lives meaning, and together comprise a kind of otherworldly lexicon of feeling. Void Studies is an airy and beautiful book - one in which Boast has spun a pure music to both ask and answer some of the most profound questions we can frame.