With stunning formal range and architectural design, Anders Villani’s second collection explores how violence engenders selfhood by calling it into radical question. What does it mean to suffer in a body that also symbolises power? How can poetry, alert to the ‘blur’ and the ‘panorama’, trace this moral dissonance at its subtlest and most intimate? How do notions of illness and recovery, victim and perpetrator, rest on fraught archetypes, and what alternate understandings emerge when these foundations waver? Villani roves between myth, confession, narrative, and dream to address such questions—not abstractly, but through the experiences of a subject whose capacity to love and be loved is at stake.
Novelistic in arc and scope, lyrically sensuous and searching, Totality invites readers on a journey of self-inquiry that dredges new channels in the contemporary poetics of trauma. As secrets reveal and conceal themselves, through the crucible of hypermasculinity, and with unstinting compassion, Villani’s poems venture an expansive and timely music.