Trilogy

Trilogy

Trilogy

Trilogy

Synopsis

This reissue of the classic Trilogy, by H. D. (Hilda Doolittle, 1886-1961), now includes a new introduction and a large section of referential notes for readers and students, compiled by Professor Aliki Barnstone. As civilian war poetry (written under the shattering impact of World War II), Trilogy’s three long poems rank with T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets and Ezra Pound’s Pisan Cantos. The first book of the Trilogy, published in the midst of the “fifty thousand incidents” of the London blitz, maintains the hope that though “we have no map;/ possibly we will reach haven,/heaven.” Tribute to the Angels describes new life springing from the ruins, and finally, in The Flowering of the Rod––with its epigram, “…pause to give/thanks that we rise again from death and live”––faith in love and resurrection is realized in lyric and strongly Biblical imagery. About Trilogy, Denise Levertov wrote: “… H. D. spoke of essentials. It is a simplicity not of reduction but of having gone further out of the circle of known light, further toward an unknown center.”

Excerpt

In Tribute to Freud, H.D. asks, "Do I wish myself, in the deepest unconscious or subconscious layers of my being, to be the founder of a new religion?" Trilogy is H.D.'s complex answer to this question. If with this astonishing book of poetry H.D. does not establish a new religion, she certainly "makes it new" while creating an eclectic scripture that derives from Egyptian, Greek, and biblical traditions. Despite her enormous output and radical poetics, H.D.'s reputation lingers unfairly back in the early decades of the century, under the restrictive label of "Imagist," one which she adamently rejected. Trilogy, however, (1944) establishes her as a major poet among the other modernists--a large-minded and philosophical visionary. Like T. S. Eliot The Waste Land, William Carlos Williams' Paterson, and Ezra Pound Cantos, Trilogy is an epic poem that takes the reader on the poet's political, spiritual, philosophical, and artistic quest. Each poet, like their precursors Milton, Whitman, and Baudelaire, has composed a personal bible; Trilogy is H.D.'s multi- layered sacred text.

In comparing Trilogy to her earlier work, H.D. wrote: "This is not the 'crystalline' poetry that my early critics would insist on. It is no pillar of salt nor yet of hewn rock-crystal. It is the pillar of fire by night, the pillar of cloud by day." She refers to the story of the children of Israel escaping Egypt in Exodus 13.21: "And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night." Her poem, she implies, is an incarnation of God's . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.