BURN DOWN THE ICONS: Poems by Grace Schulman


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Poems,"" Grace Schulman has said, ""are prayers to see things whole."" Here she attempts to ""stop the blur of trees, the flow of roads,"" and find that point at which ""nightingales. . . sing beyond confusion."" However, her own arch language gets in the way. Rather than placing herself, as she suggests, ""at the bottom of that rock/ From which altars are built,"" Schulman elevates the rock into abstractions: ""For years I would lessen your nobility,/ call it impulsive, plead/ it was useless, say/ the sudden splendid act is no great thing,/ survival is; the steady patient choice/ of rightness over time, and excellence--patience, the hero's passion."" She remains too distant from her subject to make it palpable for the reader: ""Anger: Flame quivers to survive the wind/ As music drowns the sea and stills the mind."" Icons are fabricated, not burned, in Burn Down the Icons.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Princeton Univ. Press