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By Harold Bloom

- Brings jointly the simplest feedback at the most generally learn poets, novelists, and playwrights - offers complicated serious pix of the main influential writers within the English-speaking world--from the English medievalists to modern writers - Introductory essay by means of Harold Bloom

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Rita Dove enters the dictator’s mind, and imagines a sinisterly plausible motive for the mass executions based on a bizarre word-test. Dove’s stanzaic imitation of Trujillo’s disintegrating yet obsessively circling monologue is a wonderful piece of imaginative mortise-and-tenon work. The poem represents, in Dove’s career, a dramatic advance, imaginatively speaking, in the treatment of blackness. It also marks Dove’s continued watchful distance from pure lyric; she is nowhere to be seen in her poem.

Her expression of love prevents her escape from the cedar box. ” Though burdened by familial circumstances, the “pain of the locked past,” the speaker’s freedom lies in “trying to say what happened,” as well as, the poem concludes, “the suddenly discovered knowledge of love” (Satan Says). The voice of the speaker in “Satan Says” certainly seems to be the same voice we hear in numerous poems published over the next decade or more. In “The Chute,” Olds’s speaker details the chilling effect her father’s behavior had on her and her two siblings.

Halfway through this poem Olds interjects the following lines: Over, past, since, through, that was the year my father came home in the middle of the night with those heavy worms of blood on his face, trilobites of elegant gore, cornice and crisp waist of the extinct form. . These lines can only be understood intratextually, but even with such a reading, the father’s experience and the speaker’s response to it remain ambiguous. While the lines describing the father’s appearance strain under the weight of lexical complexity, with the odd word “trilobites” drawing excessive attention to itself and away from what actually occurred, how this incident affected the speaker, and any account justifying reference to it in this poem, is unexplained.

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