Runboard.com
You're welcome.
Community logo


runboard.com       Sign up (learn about it) | Sign in (lost password?)


 
Katlin Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info


Global user

Reply | Quote
A Revolution on the Page


:Finding Identity in Poetry

An interesting article by Roya Hakakian, an Iranian-born poet now living in America, on her first encounter with Roethke's poem "My Papa's Waltz."

It's a short poem, all of four stanzas. The verses spare and simple as if the urgency of their meaning makes the use of every trope and device a hindrance. It is the absence of the ornate that lets the presence of the tragedy at the core of the poem shine so brilliantly.

The effect of a great work of literature is often to unhinge its reader, to strip her of all previously cherished beliefs down to discomfiting nakedness. Roethke's "Waltz" did just that. It abruptly unveiled to me everything that centuries of Persian poetry had not — to shift the focus from the outward life to the life at home. To portray the father, the most revered figure in the culture I knew, in a negative light — in essence, to question his credibility and authority. Roethke had pulled the pedestal from beneath the taboo.

To me, someone whose most formative adolescent experience had been the Iranian revolution of 1979, what Roethke had done was to conduct a revolution on the page. Upend, truly end, the ubiquity, the sanctity of the household "king." Something that generations of Persian poets, who had elegantly written against the tyranny of political rulers, had never challenged.


[sign in to see URL]

Persian poetry has given us Rumi, Hafez and Omar Khayyam; how wonderful that American poetry has given a Persian poet Roethke. I am moved by this because one of the first poems I ever fell in love with in high school was Roethke's "The Waking," and in recent years I have discovered Rumi and Hafez and the great spiritual as well as poetic tradition they represent, a tradition I personally was longing for without really realizing it. Now I am struck by the way our own tradition, parts of which have been devalued of late, brings something wholesome and tasty to the table at the universal poetic banquet. What seems common place to us, may hold the key to revolution to someone from another cultural mindset.

Last edited by Katlin, Jan/12/2012, 10:17 am
Jan/12/2012, 10:14 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Christine98 Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info


Global user

Reply | Quote
Re: A Revolution on the Page


Good thoughts, Kat! Loved the article,

Chris
Jan/12/2012, 11:37 am Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
Terreson Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info


Global user (premium)

Reply | Quote
Re: A Revolution on the Page


Excellent article, Kat. Your thoughts are a treat.

Tere
Jan/12/2012, 6:17 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Katlin Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info


Global user

Reply | Quote
Re: A Revolution on the Page


Thanks, you two. Glad you enjoyed the article as much as I did.
Jan/14/2012, 10:11 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 


Add a reply





You are not logged in (login)