By David Caplan
Questions of danger examines the actual varieties that modern American poets desire and people they forget. The poets' offerings demonstrate either their pursuits and their barriers, the hot probabilities they observe and the traditions they locate incredible. via shut consciousness to the sestina, ghazal, love sonnet, ballad, and heroic couplet, this research advances a brand new realizing of up to date American poetry. instead of pitting "closed" verse opposed to "open" and "traditional" poetry opposed to "experimental," Questions of risk explores how poets linked to diverse activities motivate and tell each one other's paintings. Discussing various authors, from Charles Bernstein, Derek Walcott, and Marilyn Hacker to Agha Shahid Ali, David Caplan treats those poets as contemporaries who percentage the language, no longer as partisans assigned to rival camps. the main attention-grabbing modern poetry crosses the limits that literary feedback attracts, synthesizing different impacts and constructing remarkable affinities. In a sequence of energetic readings, Caplan charts the varied features and accomplishments of contemporary poetry, from the homosexual and lesbian love sonnet to the presently renowned sestina.
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Additional info for Questions of Possibility: Contemporary Poetry and Poetic Form
Andrew McCord’s translation of Ghalib’s “Ghazal” demonstrates some of the form’s many prescriptions. The poem begins: Should you not look after me another day? Why did you go alone? I leave in only another day. If your gravestone is not erased ﬁrst my head will be. Genuﬂecting at your door, in any case, it’s me another day. As this passage illustrates, the ghazal’s endstopped couplets share a strict monorhyme. Its ﬁrst couplet uses only one endword or end phrase (in this case, “day”). ” Finally, the writer mentions his or her name or pseudonym in the ﬁnal couplet.
This page intentionally left blank two “In That Thicket of Bitter Roots”: The Ghazal in America in 1968 the ghazal entered american poetry. the year 1969 marked the centennial anniversary of the death of Mirza Ghalib, a Persian and Urdu poet and one of the form’s masters. In anticipation of the anniversary, Aijaz Ahmad, a Pakistani literary and cultural critic living in New York, solicited several well-known American poets to work on a pamphlet of translations for the centennial. Because none of the poets knew Urdu, the text’s original language, Ahmad supplied them with literal translations from which they crafted their collaborative versions.
24 Fulﬁlling this ideal, the opening stanzas ﬂaunt the ease with which the poet navigates the sestina’s daunting parameters. The poem takes a dramatic turn in the third stanza. The mind does carelessly “wander” but ﬁnds itself driven to a particularly horriﬁc memory. The speaker remains haunted by the luck that saved his life and by his friend who did not share his good fortune: The ﬁfth of August, 1942. It was morning and very hot. It was the day They came at dawn with riﬂes to The Home For Jewish Children, cutting short the meal Of bread and soup, lining them up to walk In close formation off to a special camp.