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Two Tarot Poetry Books by Stewart S. Warren

Cover of All Love Goes Before me by Stewart S. Warren

Opening these evocative books of poetry based on the 15th-century Visconti Sforza and Sola Busca decks releases a gentle magic into the air. The tarot figures speak for themselves in these elegant, imagistic poems, opening up surprising revelations about each card. Energy hums between the poems and color photos of their cards on the facing page.

All Love Goes Before Me: Poems on the Sola Busca Tarot

Tarot historian Giordano Berti sets the mood in his preface by invoking the muses and a lineage of alchemist-poets, while telling us the poems are “access portals to another dimension.” In the introduction, Il Meneghello’s art director, Dr. Cristina Dorsini, conjures up the special magic of this deck.

Stewart’s poems take us on an alchemical journey beginning with 0. Mato which starts

Caught in the blackness
of Raven’s gaze, I look into
a self I do not know.

And finishes with XXI. Nabuchodenasor

The center everywhere, everywhere
the Stone.


In between, the gently surreal imagery pulls us into a visionary landscape. One of my favorites is from XVIIII Sabino:

Whether I draw symbols in the dirt
Or in the air, the bees
Write love across the sky.

Pointing to my Heart: Poetry Journey through the Visconti-Sforza Tarot

The tarot figures in these poems often express awareness of how they are perceived and how these perceptions change over time. Il Matto makes a sly reference to how he’ll evolve through the centuries from shunned beggar to free spirit:

Later they’ll dress me in pinwheels
credit me with beginnings,
mystery, string theory.


Many of the poems end with a humorous or satirical twist. Il Traditore (The Hanged Man) says

If enough blood rushes to my head
I may get my thinking straight.


The Visconti-Sforza deck has been my companion for nearly two decades. Every poem in this book made me smile at seeing my old friends rendered in a new light.

Stewart is the author of numerous collections of poetry, most recently a collection based on the Mantegna tarocchi. Here’s a link to  his Amazon page.

Card illustrations are from facsimile decks produced by Il Meneghello of Milan.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. JJ #

    Years ago, my collection and study of tarot brought me back to reading and collecting poetry. I love poetry, so was really interested in this. I’d particularly like to get the one related to the Mantegna deck (perhaps because of the Muses–a good tie-in), but it doesn’t seem to be available in Canada.

    “…string theory.” I like that, humans are so good at projection and stories.

    Yes, I would enjoy these books. Hey people, Canada is a country you can market books in!

    September 11, 2014
    • Hi JJ, How wonderful that tarot and poetry are so entwined for you. The Mantegna book is fairly recent. If Stewart’s other books are available in Canada, I imagine this one will be too. I had no idea the US-Canadian border was such a barrier to shopping.

      September 11, 2014
  2. Great readinng your blog

    May 15, 2023

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