By John Hollander
A wonderful new assortment from considered one of our so much extraordinary poets.
Here are poems that discover the ways that usual gadgets open doorways to the extra hidden, unconscious truths of our internal selves: a fowl of “countless colors” calls to brain “the echo . . . / of an internal occasion / From my forgotten past”; a subway bee sting evokes speedy not likely visits by means of the muses—a temporary expertise that's “as a lot of a / reward from these 9 sisters as / Is ever given.”
Other poems lay naked the imperfect nature of our stories: fact altered via our necessarily much less actual yet probably “truer” bear in mind of prior occasions (“memory— / As packed with random holes as any / Uncleaned window is of spots / Of blur and dimming—begins without delay / To interfere”). nonetheless others study the dramatic adjustments in point of view we endure over the process a life-time as, within the poem “When We Went Up,” John Hollander describes the numerous responses he has to mountain climbing an analogous mountain at various issues in his life.
In all the poems Hollander illuminates the fluid nature of actual and emotional adventure, the connections among the straightforward issues we come across each day and the ways that the which means we characteristic to them shapes our lives. just like the harmonious coming jointly of bandstand tools on a summer season afternoon, he writes, so much of what we come to understand on this planet is “A loss of life second / Of lastingness thenceforth / Ever to not be.”
Throughout this thought-provoking assortment, Hollander finds the ways that we're always growing particular worlds of our personal, “a draft of light” of our personal making, and the way those worlds, in flip, continuously form our most elementary identities and truest selves.
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Extra info for A Draft of Light: Poems
204). Signiﬁcantly for my youth-cultural focus here, the most highly perfected institutional form of this fetishized consciousness is, for Jhally, the Music Television Network (MTV): On MTV the ‘‘blurring’’ of the content between programs [use value] and advertising [exchange value] is complete on both the objective and subjective levels. On the objective level we can see that, viewed from an economic perspective, everything on MTV is a commercial. Videos are promotional pieces for record albums while the commercials that appear between these are promotions for other commodities.
163)—there can be little doubt that their ethical outrage is a quite understandable reaction to this wanton scene of consumerist frenzy. That Mallworld is not quite the paradise it seems is indicated by the fact that one of its more successful franchises is the Way Out Corporation, which operates suicide booths throughout the mall. ’’ croons one of its talking signs in ‘‘a mellow father-image sort of voice. WHY NOT . . KILL YOURSELF? 300 WAYS POSSIBLE. . ’’ (p. 88) These self-immolation parlors localize—and speak to—a general feeling of exhaustion and ennui that periodically grips many of the novel’s characters, a sense that the human project has reached its moral nadir if not its evolutionary dead end.
Mallworld is Fordist capitalism, with its consuming-youth ethos, extrapolated into outer space. But if this is the imagined future of Fordism, this worldwide mall thronging with literal and ﬁgurative youth, what are the material and ideological conditions that paved the way for its extravagant science-ﬁctional vision?
A Draft of Light: Poems by John Hollander