Donatello's Version

Overview

These are post-9/11 poems examining such issues as the Holocaust, the prison scandals in Iraq, and other human rights violations.

Written as the war on terror morphed into an imperial war, Donatello's Version carries on the public poetry tradition of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Horace, Juvenal, Dante, Milton, Blake, and others. These poems arise from the premise that words matter, that the res publica (the human value that individuals in a community place above their own ...

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Overview

These are post-9/11 poems examining such issues as the Holocaust, the prison scandals in Iraq, and other human rights violations.

Written as the war on terror morphed into an imperial war, Donatello's Version carries on the public poetry tradition of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Horace, Juvenal, Dante, Milton, Blake, and others. These poems arise from the premise that words matter, that the res publica (the human value that individuals in a community place above their own self-interest) also matters, and that the voice of the poet can make a difference.

In Donatello's Version, post-9/11 reality is re-viewed through Hamlet, Donatello's David, Lazarus, and Coltrane. Rather than being a poetry collection of answers, this is a poetry collection of questions, impasses, and revelations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Donatello's Version is a social poetry which arises not from opinionation and facile protest, but from clear-eyed witness." -- Richard Wilbur

"James Scully's Donatello's Version is essential reading...Scully's achievement has matched his remarkable ambition." -- Jon Andersen, The Café Review

"James Scully's fierce moral intelligence, poetic craft and grim humor are all alive and well in this long-awaited collection." -- Adrienne Rich

Library Journal

Scully's (Santiago Poems; Apollo Helmet) poems don't address art as the title implies but war, pain, and destruction. As Adrienne Rich said, "A revolutionary poem will not tell you who or when to kill, what and when to burn, or even how to theorize. It reminds you...where and when and how you are living." Scully's 18-page "Boxcars" does this exactly in describing one writer's reaction to the Holocaust. "Genbaku Shi" repeats its translated meaning, "died by atom bomb," drumming the horror into our consciousness. But to confront war directly in poetry is difficult, and though Scully's energy and repulsion toward violence and torture are admirable, sometimes these poems seem too rough and hurried. When he combines passion and language, the poems succeed, as in "Qana": "their deaths/ like little yapping dogs/ rush out/ into the nerve-endings of the universe." His topics are harsh-torture at Gitmo, a woman wearing a black chador fleeing violence, bombs raining down on a Lebanese wedding-but Scully gives witness to them. A rare poet, he is one of few addressing the current Iraq war and torture. Recommended for larger public libraries and all academic libraries.
—Doris Lynch

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781931896313
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Pages: 103
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


James Scully is considered one of the most important figures in poetry that engages the reader in social and political issues. Born in 1937 in New Haven, Connecticut, he is the winner of the 1967 Lamont Award and the recipient of a 1973 Guggenheim Fellowship. He spent 1973 and 1974 in Santiago, Chile, on which his book Santiago Poems is based. Over the years, his poetry has appeared in many diverse periodicals. He currently lives in San Francisco.
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Table of Contents


1.
Listening to Coltrane
Arc
Epigram
Snowblind
Liberation of Paris
Untitled
Neoo Manifesto
DU Blues
Tomb of the Unknowns
Donatello's Version
The Donkeys
Woman in Black Chador, Running
Babble
Horst Bienek
Forensic Fragments
In Wildered Dust
Scleroderma
Resurrection
Except for Lazarus

2. 
Rather Bitterly Grieved
Dadalab
The Lesser Evil
Codex Gitmo
Strange Words
Star Chamber
They
Boxcars
Genbaku Shi
Wild Trees
The Hamlet Mess
O Say Can You See
There Is No Truth to the Rumor
Qana
The Angel of History

Notes

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