By John Hollander
“Perfection is an extraordinary accomplishment, fairly in American poetry, and the perfection of a lot of Hollander’s paintings makes it crucial analyzing for somebody who really cares for the craft of poetry. yet in our fallen international we look fated to price strength of perfection, and John Hollander’s poetry has proven a visionary strength simply frequently sufficient to safe him a spot as one of many significant figures of our moment.”
Vernon Shetley, The New Republic
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Additional info for Selected Poetry
In a sack, Father, I carry them He said if everyone jumped in the lake, would you jump too? Yes, Father, the water is cool and green If you’re frightened of someone he said imagine them in their underpants. Father, I cannot even imagine your face In the one snapshot of us on the bridge in Baden Baden the half smile on your lips is unfamiliar you are standing behind me on a step to make yourself taller, leaner I am clutching my purse with both hands And your hand on my shoulder— it is heavy, Father, it is heavy 22 II cedar tree.
And once this land was defined as a promise of milk, a promise of honey. Now half brothers fight for a dunam of earth, a ceiling to count on. Now this land is a promise gone haywire, a daredevil’s mishap. Go out in the street and play Russian roulette. Go out to a club and find fresh young bodies blown to bits, their garments still sparkling. Now the forest is burning. Charred skeletons of trees provide neither food nor shelter. Goats grind their teeth on whatever grows. Now the camera freezes on demonstrators from both sides wearing baseball caps and faded T-shirts, as though fitted by the same tailor in a uniform of rage.
Of course, I'd prefer preserving beauty, but this pays better and I still get to use my craft. 43 Headquarters I have been sitting in this chair, this office, this room with a window that doesn't open so long I fear I've lost the art of breathing. My task is to draft speeches for powerful people that must pass through the eyes of a man scared of losing his job. The trick is to write in his style so he can get the credit. In this way I become indispensable. Strange how common ghosting is. Today I heard my own words coming from the chief of staff, exhorting us to soften the environment for brand acceptance, bombard it with the message that this association is new and innovative, helping people over 50 enjoy life.