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AUDUBON by Robert Penn Warren


A Vision

by Robert Penn Warren

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 1969
ISBN: 0394403010
Publisher: Random House

A long poem, based on Warren's vision of Audubon, a poem of "great distance and stars." With rugged lyricism and great narrative strength (put to devastating effect in the section concerning a nightmare execution), Warren dips and careens about themes involving time, reality and the intuition of self. "How thin the membrane between himself and the world," begins the wanderer, but the "world declares" its truth in enactment—a boar grumbles, a jay calls. One can only wait for a sign, never really knowing anything except oneself. Warren has been accused of a derivative drift in the past (to an extent this still applies), and lines like: "The dregs/Of all nightmare are the same, and we call it/Life," drop like a stone in the applejack. But this is nonetheless a poem of pristine breadth and power.