Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Great Regulars: That a poem can evoke an emotional dilemma

in nine lines is a small miracle. The poem shows us how the flight of its people diminishes Iraq, how those who stay behind must live in fear. And we see the choice each exile must face: to return and risk the gun, or to live in safety without the sustenance of one's culture. Each choice offers a dead end; the last two lines, while [Adnan] Al-Sayegh's personal view of Iraq, ring with truth.

from Powells: Review-A-Day: Half of History


Few who enjoyed [Frank] O'Hara's presence in the avant-garde scene seem to have noticed that his jokes, gossip, and wild associative leaps tended to culminate in sermons about the ultimate value of one-to-one relations. "The only truth is face to face," he wrote in "Ode: Salute to the French Negro Poets," a poem partly about the prejudicial falsehoods that blur individual faces. The closing couplet reads:

the only truth is face to face, the poem whose words become your mouth
and dying in black and white we fight for what we love, not are

from Powells: Review-A-Day: 'What We Love, Not Are"


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