Clio's Children: Dostoevsky at Semyonov Square and Other Poems

Clio's Children: Dostoevsky at Semyonov Square and Other Poems

Clio's Children: Dostoevsky at Semyonov Square and Other Poems

Clio's Children: Dostoevsky at Semyonov Square and Other Poems

Excerpt

The personae I use, the moments I represent, indeed this entire book, are based on the following assumptions: that the realities of history are incarnate in human character; that a writer can project himself into the circumstances and personalities of history and express himself in the terms of an historical moment; that a poet can meditate on history itself and convert facts into a type of imagistic consciousness; that the past can be addressed rhetorically and recreated at the same time; that the theme of incarceration present throughout the book is an event that repeats itself in history, authority of the state hemming in always the power or force of the individual; that art is an activity that contravenes and assimilates the dominance-seeking modes of society; that modern life can be framed by events occurring between 1849 and 1945.

In some ways, the collection is a poetic rendering of an idea contained earlier in Thomas Carlvle’s Heroes and Hero Worship, but the poems here include women, and the title would be more appropriately, Heroes and Heroines. I have told no lies for the sake of dramatic heightening, and I have tried to represent all types of personalities, people of amazing gifts, whose greatness is a challenge to our obsessions with the small and quotidian. These are the children of Clio, the muse of history, goddess of renown.—J.A.

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