By Harold Bloom
- Brings jointly the easiest feedback at the most generally learn poets, novelists, and playwrights - offers advanced severe pix of the main influential writers within the English-speaking world--from the English medievalists to modern writers - Introductory essay through Harold Bloom
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Additional info for American Women Poets (Bloom's Modern Critical Views)
How else, this poem seems implicitly to be asking, can the death of the other be transcended? The emotional distance the father maintained, both when the speaker was a child and as he is dying, prohibits a communion of love between father and daughter in his final days; absent the heart, the father’s body still remains as an object the speaker can attend to lovingly with language. She highlights the impersonality of the mechanism of the body: the contents of his catheter bag, the “sucking snap / when his jaws draw back” (“Death and Morality”), his skin, eyes, and open mouth, the weight of his ashes in their urn.
Did you weep as you left as Reza Pahlevi wept when he rose over the gold plain of Iran, did you suddenly want to hear our voices, did you start to rethink the darkness of our hair, did you wonder if perhaps we had deserved to live, did you love us, then? (DL) The father has no voice in any of these poems. Yet with “The Departure,” the speaker appears to be provoking a dialogue, and the reader is forced to imagine what the father would say were he allowed to speak. Since the father is a dominant presence in so many poems in Olds’s first three books and the central subject in her fourth, why does she choose to keep him silent?
That was the year my mother took us and hid us so he could not get at us when she told him to leave; so there were no more tyings by the wrist to the chair, no more denial of food 28 Brian Dillon or the forcing of foods, the head held back, down the throat at the restaurant, the shame of vomited buttermilk down the sweater with its shame of new breasts. That was the year I started to bleed, crossing over that border in the night, and in Social Studies, we came at last to Auschwitz. I recognized it like my father’s face, the face of the guard turning away—or worse yet turning toward me.