By Harold Bloom
Offers biographical and demanding info at the poet Mark Strand, discussing a few of his most well-liked works, together with the tale of Our Lives, how it Is, Elegy for My Father, and darkish Harbor
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Additional info for Mark Strand
They offer you money. They get on their knees and beg you not to die. When you rise at midnight they mourn for you. They close their eyes and whisper your name over and over. But they cannot drag the buried light from your veins. They cannot reach your dreams. So far from resisting, or denying, the reality of his father’s death, Strand’s own mode of mourning is to follow his father into dying, taking as many steps down the path toward death as possible short of dying himself, and though this process culminates in a valiant entreaty invoking the invisible powers for release from the bondage to his father’s corpse (“It came to my house.
Beyond the Muse of Memory: Essays on Contemporary American Poets (Columbia and London, University of Missouri Press: 1995): pp. 220–222. Originally appeared in The Yale Review, 1968. RICHARD HOWARD ON THE POEM AS AN AFFIRMATION OF LIFE [Richard Howard teaches in the Writing Division of the School of the Arts, Columbia University. He is the author of eleven books of poetry, a gifted translator and a respected essayist on contemporary poetry. ] One more celebration of an empty place, this elegy is an emblematic trajectory, a six-poem acknowledgment of the 48 necessity to put off knowledge, to deny, to refuse, to gainsay: “There were no secrets.
I said it was yours. / I have carried it with me too long. ”), it is clear from the other poems of the present volume that the elegy is only the first milestone in an interior odyssey in which he follows a long, intricate course in developing a new poetics that recapitulates his vision of his father’s dying. Strand is obsessed, in poem after poem, with absence, vanishings, disappearance of parts of his own psyche. The opening litany of the elegy, “The Empty Body,” suggests that the author’s obsession with disappearance grew initially out of the shock of witnessing his father’s dead body.