By Harold Bloom
- Brings jointly the simplest feedback at the most generally learn poets, novelists, and playwrights - provides complicated serious photographs of the main influential writers within the English-speaking world--from the English medievalists to modern writers - Introductory essay by way of Harold Bloom
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The reader who hopes Olds will reproduce experience will be disappointed in the elliptical quality of many of the poems about the father. The reader who hopes Olds will emphasize the speaker’s evaluation of her experience will be intrigued. ” But the adult speaker excuses the father’s actions as she interprets the poem in the final lines. . We hung there in the dark, and yet, you know, he never dropped us or meant to, he only liked to say he would, so although it’s a story with some cruelty in it, finally it’s a story of love and release, the way the father pulls you out of nothing and stands there foolishly grinning.
Even when freed of historical circumstance, Dove’s “slave poetry” exhibits a certain awkwardness in its wish to achieve historical linguistic probability. The poem ironically entitled “The Slave’s Critique of Practical Reason” transcribes the slave’s decision, as he picks cotton, not to attempt an escape; the slave speaks in a “folksy” language that nonetheless unconvincingly drops into—or rises towards—complex vocabulary and metaphor: Ain’t got a reason to run away— leastways, not one would save my life.
The Nation 11 April 1987: 472–475. Olds, Sharon. The Dead and the Living. New York: Knopf, 1984. The Gold Cell. New York: Knopf, 1989. The Father. New York: Knopf, 1992. ” The New Yorker 2 April 1990: 48. Satan Says. University of Pittsburgh Press, 1980. HELEN VENDLER Rita Dove: Identity Markers A primary imaginative donnée for the black poet Rita Dove—as for any other black poet in America—has to be the fact of blackness. Since we have not yet become a color-blind country, any black writer must confront, as an adult, the enraging fact that the inescapable social accusation of blackness becomes, too early for the child to resist it, a strong element of inner self-definition.
American Women Poets (Bloom's Modern Critical Views) by Harold Bloom