12 thoughts on “Cartes de Visite – Mark Valentine

  1. About 60 fine quality paper pages within sturdy boundaries, stylishly and generously spaced out with ornamental title pages, plus some white-print-on-black title pages front and back, meeting in the middle with English and Portuguese translations of each Valentine prose piece as black print on white, starting with…


    A rhapsodically Valentinedictory description of a special twilight from day into night, whereby we are trespassers attending an otherwise private changeover…

  2. The Dark Town / A Cidade Obscura

    “, cobbled slopes,”

    It is a rarely known fact that Kafka was obsessed with slopes. Here the children “half-smoke” – as if this prose poem is a faulty camera obscura as well as a cidade obscura? El Cid, I sense is not the one from whom the word cidade formed.. Unless this dark town is “Torrelobatón como a cidade natal de El Cid…”, as I found said elsewhere? With its castle now gone or it is the dark hill that replaced it, overshadowing the “excited gaggles” of children. Which is the shadow of the other, Spanish or Portuguese? ‘The Portuguese language is older than Portugal itself, just like Spanish is older (much older) than Spain.’ — I just learnt for the first time. They both derived from Vulgar Latin. Vulgar for children to drink cider in the streets, anyway, I say! Serves them right what this text promises them.

  3. A Day of Melancholy / Um dia melancólico

    Not often do we have a rainy scene described including the word ‘chrism’ along with other words that “convey more than they say.” But are you seurat that this is not low depressed and meek Anglican rather than high and haughtily incensed?

  4. 17E5E3F0-34A6-4DE5-B0CB-B016E37C6E03

    Procession / Procissāo

    “, flutes drone,’

    Do flutes drone? some may ask. Yes, in the Middle Ages, I propound.
    Meanwhile, my photo here was a very recent one of a sort of modern ‘oriflamme’. Glad it was ready for this review, as it turned out!

  5. Sacred Nights / Noites sagradas

    A quiet paean to being out all night “alone under the stars.”
    But paradoxically such beauty will ‘lure’ others from within houses, and being alone will no longer be possible?

  6. Sanctuaries / Santuários

    “Quiet secluded places tended by unseen hands or none,…”

    Described here tenderly for all to recognise as places they have visited. Their nemonymity of genius-loci late-labelled by memory. Retrocausal Cartes de Visite.

  7. The Chart of the Portico / A cartano pórtico

    “, no pausing place where we can remain held, part-way between the diurnal and the sacred.”

    I am often held in such part-way, as you can see above, in ‘the fey golden area between clarity and confusion’ of my current stage of life. We all have our map of such Venn Diagrams as we approach the portico of death. Here of a citadel upon a an English hill. Umbrella stand, too, to replace yesterday’s laburnum.

  8. Cartes de Visites
    Some of these cards virtually pasted into the actual book…

    Clues / Indices
    And this final section – ‘Collect fragments’ – beautifully expresses for me what I now know it in hindsight to be about all along. Instructions not only on how to visit these places — e.g. “follow the streets where they lead, or follow a stranger.” Well, be careful regarding the latter, I say! — yes, this section expresses beautifully a metaphor for what is for me virtually the process of gestalt real-time reviewing itself – especially when reading books such as this one…

Perhaps it is differently bespoke for each reader who reads it. Along with the book’s design to be relished.
    Won in Translation.


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