American Writers, Supplement XV by Leonard Unger, Jay Parini PDF

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By Leonard Unger, Jay Parini

ISBN-10: 0684313065

ISBN-13: 9780684313061

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Example text

Unable to kill himself, tormented by his guilt over having tried to hurt his wife and child, he arrives at a solution: My BODY spoke to me: There is no answer to your life. You are insane; or evil. There is only one thing that you can do:— You must join YOUR GUILT to the WORLD’S GUILT. In order to do this, he creates a dance in which he figuratively sacrifices himself. A prose passage describes the performance. ” His dance reflected battle, horror, catastrophe, apocalypse. An observer wrote: “At the end, we were too much overwhelmed to applaud.

For many critics, the dashes, semicolons, italics, and capitals succeed in creating a lyric voice that paradoxically has its origins in prose. Others find the elaborate use of typography distracting, and even irritating, wondering whether differences in voice or tone can only be conveyed in this manner. Another complaint is that because he uses this prosody to represent shifts in tone in many poems, all of the speakers come to sound the same. But as Bidart has suggested, he is not as interested in creating character as he is in representing the voice of the imagination: specifically the internal voice of the mind in crisis attempting to sort through existential dread.

Bidart creates a poem that opens the exclusive, closed circle of the confessional speaker to the world and also humanizes the depersonalized stance of the dramatic persona. In this way, he reveals the intersection between autobiographical self-revelation and imaginative selfinvention, between the immediacy of personal experience and abstract philosophical idea. GOLDEN STATE Bidart’s first book, Golden State (1973), was published as part of the Braziller poetry series, edited by the poet Richard Howard.

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American Writers, Supplement XV by Leonard Unger, Jay Parini


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