Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Great Regulars: While not dealing directly with the first world war

and the poet's pacifism, "Hymn of Hymns" plainly reveals a mind repelled by heroics. In the Hymn's most memorable lines, [John] Rodker's speaker detonates the hubris of "Attacking the stars/from eyes five feet above ground". At the same time, he's undoubtedly exhilarated by the surge of his iconoclasm. The traditional psalmic devices--strong rhythms, incantatory repetition--underlie the force of this hymn against hymns. Although not apparently designed as such, it would have made a rousing performance poem.

Hymn of Hymns

from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: Poem of the week: Hymn of Hymns by John Rodker


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