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Quintessential Heroics
Marc Di Saverio's Crito Di Volta

Marc Di Saverio, Crito Di Volta
Toronto: Guernica Editions, 2020.

Few are the poets who succeed in changing our perception of reality with their pansophy. Marc Di Saverio is one such poet. In his epic Crito di Volta, he has penned a work of unparalleled intellectual depth and poetic intensity, spanning the gamut of literature, philosophy, theology and science. Praised for its authentic poetic voice, Crito di Volta defies tradition, all the while encompassing it.

Upon entering its pages, we discover the rare treasure of true lyricism, the happy union of academic idiom with the lexicon of urban diction, slang and the common parlance of texting and emails. The language ricochets from the time of Socrates to the present, to Dante’s medieval vision, then back again to conversations and email correspondences with friends. The poet’s words become “a vatic voice, like a spokes-poking stick, that will hurl the Dada-rider skyward, then down to the jetty of his mind.”

This is masterful writing of a poet at the top of his game. It transpires from the mind and soul as a synthesis of its knowledge and inclinations, and not from mere word play. Upon embarking on the careful reading of Marc Di Saverio’s text, my thirst was quenched with the refreshing water of words and verses of pure poetic merit, of the calibre venerated in ancient classics and more recently embodied in the genius work of Borges or Whitman. Yet Crito Di Volta surpasses these in scope by the auspicious coherence of moral and philosophical perspectives, voices, poetic styles, formats, and variations of tone and diction. Crito’s emails show this coherence and variation:

From: Crito Di Volta <> to: Niccolo Di Volta <> I am training myself to speak in five-foot lines (hence this pentametric letter, bros.) Through mirrored veers and ardour-softened beaks’ sweetest meetings, we soar toward theophanies.” The whole is held together by the overarching theme of the muse’s oracular voice as a conduit to the electric field of consciousness, as opposed to the limiting obedience to the rules of reason. Here, “cardinals, camouflaged by the late red rays, seem to shoot out of nowhere, out of the vortex for coincidence.

If, in Plato’s Dialogue, Crito of Alopece is the interlocutor to Socrates before his execution, Marc Di Saverio’s Crito di Volta embodies within his own psyche, the quintessential plight of the rationalist versus the irrationalist as a matter of consequence to the very nature of our two brain hemispheres.

To rally against the injustices of the world is to be in danger. The execution awaits Crito in the last poem of the collection, a brilliant piece in its gnostic reach, a composition which ties together personal loss and disloyalty of the system and presumed friends. This is a poem which artfully resonates with the betrayal of Jesus by Judas and the illusory reality of Plato’s cave.

Marc Di Saverio’s literary prowess magically transmutes the protagonist’s tragic decade of illness and institutionalization into an unrivaled opus about our human plight, interlacing myriad concepts and poetic canons into one cohesive, exquisite work of art.

Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews is a poet, an author, and a teacher. She has written seven collections of poetry. Her work has been published in many journals and anthologies. Her poems have won many prizes. Josie was born in Italy. She currently lives and writes in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.