By Edward Field
Box is without doubt one of the first American poets to jot down proudly and obviously approximately city homosexual life.This new-and-selected (Field's sixteenth booklet of verse total) indicates that his virtues—and limits—have remained constant all through. At his most sensible box is direct, likable, modest, fascinating, a storyteller : he writes purposefully and without delay of bathhouse existence within the Seventies, Jewish-American historical past, heart jap travels in an international the place, in contrast to ours, males like one another; and allegorically of the Pacific octopus, who wishes love,/ who's a multitude if you happen to meet,/ yet who can open up like a flower with petal fingers. At lower than his most sensible, Field's unadorned sort could make him sound predictable: his poems are just as attention-grabbing as their tales and ideas. these days there's not anything radical left, by no means/ within the Village, he complains in a poem from the Nineties. a contemporary Sept. 11 poem gadgets to a gang of psychopaths taking on the govt. Irreplaceable within the background of homosexual American writing, box helped invent the various attitudes and the subgenres which are now in universal use. If a lot of Field's personal poems now look flat and dated, sufficient nonetheless appear clean to provide severe power to this booklet.
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Extra info for After the Fall: Poems Old and New
In the novel she is about to become what Hardy calls in 'The Occultation' a 'late-irradiate soul' - an extinguished lamp whose 'light', Shelley says, 'in the dust lies dead'. The poem's vibrant, stringed instruments refer to Shelley's poetry and character, which Hardy also idealised, and to the now-dead women Hardy loved and fell out of love with and whose quivering, passionate natures he's comparing to Shelley's Aeolian lyres. And the line also refers to his memory of Emma playing a stringed instrument and singing a song (the ironic coincidence is of his making, I doubt if she actually sang Shelley's lyric).
This eerie sense that no objects - even the most domestic and PERCEPTION 25 familiar- have any relation to each other or to us is one of the qualities of these lines from 'During Wind and Rain': They change to a high new house, He, she, all of them - aye, Clocks and carpets and chairs On the lawn all day, And brightest things that are theirs .... Ah, no; the years, the years; Down their carved names the rain-drop ploughs. There is only what Hume would call a 'constant conjunction' between these objects which, indoors, gives them the appearance of being connected with each other.
We look at the illustration and bring our knowledge of the poem to it just as Hardy brings his experience to the scene, but what we see are two physical objects - a landscape and a pair of spectacles - which have no apparent or necessary connection with each other and whose relationship is random and gratuitous, like objects in a surrealist picture. His looking at the scene, like his and our general experience of the outer world, has no relation to what he sees and is purely accidental. This eerie sense that no objects - even the most domestic and PERCEPTION 25 familiar- have any relation to each other or to us is one of the qualities of these lines from 'During Wind and Rain': They change to a high new house, He, she, all of them - aye, Clocks and carpets and chairs On the lawn all day, And brightest things that are theirs ....
After the Fall: Poems Old and New by Edward Field