Given the whirligig of time and the changing of the avant-garde, it should not come as much of a surprise that the poets who enjoyed their time in the sun in the Contemporary Literature overview of poetry in the last decade of the 20th century see AmLS , pp. The modernism of Ezra Pound and T. The act of writing—whether letters, diaries, or Access options available:. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.
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Eleven Addresses to the Lord by John Berryman | Poetry Foundation
But they somehow manage not to do either—not really. Many of the poems in this devastatingly beautiful book might be described as stricken lyrics. In the traditional lyric poem, the poet explores both a literal and a symbolic or metaphysical theme at the same time.
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Lines that on one level describe a flower—Wordsworth's daffodils, for instance—might also speak to a spiritual reality. Wiman's lyrics hint at these double meanings, but the "literal" is so finely described that the poems rarely simply take flight. The second poem, "After the Diagnosis," introduces the theme of the speaker's potentially terminal disease. Although the disease is nowhere mentioned in this poem it is an explicit presence in only a handful of the poems, nearly all in the first of the book's three parts , the title and the poem's subject—the speaker's memory of an apple sapling that was struck by "one random blow from above"—appear to set up the most conventional of lyrics.
But the poem eases into a meditation on the shifting perceptions of change at different points in one's life before concluding with a description of the tree rescued from sentiment by the intriguingly ambiguous penultimate line , which. The poem that follows, "Five Houses Down," about an eccentric, junk-collecting man who lived in the speaker's neighborhood, created a flutter when it first appeared in The New Yorker. As in these lines, the poem's precise description is laced with an almost punch-drunk reveling in the sheer music of jostling, echoing words.
Wiman has always been adept in formal and semi-formal forms, and the same fluency recurs in Every Riven Thing , but the poems are more playful and offbeat, while at the same time deadly serious.