Access your Project MUSE content using one of the login options below Close(X)
Browse Results For:
Yet, these are ultimately poems of survival. Jarman explores the redemptive power of the imagination and the ways in which we transform experience into stories we tell about our lives. His characters vividly express the will to cling to existence and understand it as they pursue the meaning of family, home, identity, and love. Invented memories resurrect a forgotten past, opening doors of possibility and adding a strange richness to everyday life. "Flowers of the flesh,/ Hung on the cliffs to watch and be watched./ Don't let me see reproach, don't let me see it,/ In your eyes. Let me be the only one/ Who knows and tells you."
Cameroon in Black and White
Bill NDIís Bleeding Red: Cameroon in Black and White is another masterpiece from a poet with a deeply political vision. This collection of poems with Cameroon as the particular focal point is a paragon of socio-political and cultural alertness in verse that will get every reader on their toes. Bill NDIís world is fraught with topsy-turvydom. It is a world darkened by experience and a keen sense of the wrongs plaguing his beloved country. He points out, without preaching, where it all went wrong, how it can, or what it will take to, be redeemed. The acerbity of Bill NDIís criticism runs from the very first poem of the collection ëAnthem for Essingangí through ëThe Promiseí to the very last one ëPapa Ngando Yi Mimba for Cameluní. What a clime characterised by a ìclan of mbokos, clan of banditsî! It is just natural that as they perpetrate ìdeath and sadnessî in his beloved fatherland, nothing but ìdisgraceî, ìgreat shameî, and ìrepudiationî awaits them for evermore.
In Blowout, Denise Duhamel asks the same question that Frankie Lyman & the Teenagers asked back in 1954—"Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" Duhamel's poems readily admit that she is a love-struck fool, but also embrace the "crazy wisdom" of the Fool of the Tarot deck and the fool as entertainer or jester. From a kindergarten crush to a failed marriage and beyond, Duhamel explores the nature of romantic love and her own limitations. She also examines love through music, film, and history—Michelle and Barak Obama's inauguration and Cleopatra's ancient sex toy. Duhamel chronicles the perilous cruelties of love gone awry, but also reminds us of the compassion and transcendence in the aftermath. In "Having a Diet Coke with You," she asserts that "love poems are the most difficult poems to write / because each poem contains its opposite its loss / and that no matter how fierce the love of a couple / one of them will leave the other / if not through betrayal / then through death." Yet, in Blowout, Duhamel fiercely and foolishly embraces the poetry of love.
The Poetry of George Elliott Clarke
Blues singer, preacher, cultural critic, exile, Africadian, high modernist, spoken word artist, Canadian poet—these are but some of the voices of George Elliott Clarke. In a selection of Clarke’s best work from his early poetry to his most recent, Blues and Bliss: The Poetry of George Elliott Clarke offers readers an impressive cross-section of those voices. Jon Paul Fiorentino’s introduction focuses on this polyphony, his influences—Derek Walcott, Amiri Baraka, and the canon of literary English from Shakespeare to Yeats—and his “voice throwing,” and shows how the intersections here produce a “troubling” of language. He sketches Clarke’s primary interest in the negotiation of cultural space through adherence to and revision of tradition and on the finding of a vernacular that begins in exile, especially exile in relation to African-Canadian communities.
In the afterword, Clarke, in an interesting re-spin of Fiorentino’s introduction, writes with patented gusto about how his experiences have contributed to multiple sounds and forms in his work. Decrying any grandiose notions of theory, he presents himself as primarily a songwriter.
Blues for Bill was born out of the desire to perpetuate the memory of our dear friend and teacher, Bill Matthews. Bill’s work will last without our help, of course, but what of our memories of Bill himself? This collection of poems ensures that the world will remember his graciousness, intelligence, knowledge, style, good humor, capacity for friendship, immense talent and wit. It’s Bill himself this anthology memorializes, the character and soul of this most unique man. The poems included were written by people who knew Bill in a variety of ways, under myriad circumstances: as friend, both old and new; as mentor and teacher; as colleague; as father. The book’s introduction was penned by Bill’s long-time friend, Russell Banks. Many of the contributors’ names will be familiar, such as Sharon Olds, Stanley Plumly, Dave Smith, Henry Taylor, David Wojahn, Susan Wood, and Baron Wormser; others are perhaps not as well known, but their poems are remarkable, true testaments to Bill.
In Bone Light, Orlando White's debut volume, he explores the English language from a Diné (Navajo) perspective. He invites us to imagine that we, as a people—all people in this imaginary country called the United States—are speaking an Indigenous language and that the English language exists merely as a remnant of the colonial past. Despite its tenuous existence in this re-imagined present, English remains a danger to Indigenous thought, as it threatens to impose an alien worldview through its vocabulary and syntactical maneuvers. Historically, English was used by non-Natives to document Indigenous cultures; against this historical backdrop, White also writes to document, but he works to create something more beautiful than harmful. He does not attempt a critique of the English language; he works with it and against it to gain a better understanding of its peculiarities and limits, creating a relationship through these sometimes humorous, sometimes irreverent acts of exploration. Throughout Bone Light, Orlando White approaches the English language as if he has just encountered it, as if it were a mysterious set of symbols. Focusing on the particles of the language, the punctuation marks, the letters, the spaces between words, he turns them a while in his hand like strange inexplicable artifacts from a lost world, then sets to work, refashioning them into something he can use.
The hand is second only to language in defining the human being, and its constant presence makes it a ready reminder of our humanity, with all its privileges and obligations. In this dazzling collection, Cole Swensen explores the hand from any angle approachable by language and art. Her hope: to exhaust the hand as subject matter; her joy: the fact that she couldn't.These short poems reveal the hand from a hundred different perspectives. Incorporating sign language, drawing manuals, paintings from the 14th to the 20th century, shadow puppets, imagined histories, positions (the “hand as a boatless sail”), and professions (“the hand as window in which the panes infinitesimal”), Cole Swensen's fine hand is “that which augments” our understanding and appreciation of “this freak wing,” this “wheel that comforts none” yet remains “a fruit the size and shape of the heart.”
In her latest collection of poems, The Book of Accident, Beckian Fritz Goldberg invites the reader into a shadowy atmosphere where her language prowls among strange images; hummingbirds become a "fistful of violet amphetamines" and desire gnaws away like a "live rat sewed up inside us." Reading The Book of Accident is like entering a graphic novel with missing panels, a noir world of queasy glints and feral adolescents, "a world where no one has to love you." Characters go by odd names: Torture Boy, Skin Girl, Lala Petite, Wolf Boy (his body "pale as the plucked end of light"). They are punk kids fending for themselves in an expressionistic version of those old stories "that began, Let's take the children out to the woods / and leave them." And on every page, there's Goldberg's hard-edged wit, with the speed and flash of a video game. These poems show mercy but give no ground. They make you feel heartbroken and frightened and exhilarated at the same time.
“A Song of Songs, which is not Solomon’s but Alicia Ostriker’s. A great age-old hymn to life, to flesh, to memory, is revised again on these pages, with gusto, with passion, with clarity, with eros, with grief. If there is God, it is the mourner’s or the mystic’s God; if there is faith, it is the faith in our future. This is gorgeous poetry, as Jewish as it is universal.” —Ilya Kaminsky