An Individual History: Poems by Michael Collier

By Michael Collier

An person History describes the fears, anger, and guilt—personal, familial, societal, political, and historical—that contain a existence. The determine of the speaker’s maternal grandmother who used to be institutionalized for 5 a long time serves as an overriding metaphor for this haunting, daring new paintings via an important American poet.

from “An person History

This was once earlier than the time of lithium and Zoloft

before temper stabilizers and anxiolytics

and just about all the psychotropic medicinal drugs, yet now not before


which the suicide O’Laughlin known as “handcuffs for the


It was once prior to, in the course of, and after the time of atomic


Auschwitz, the Nakba, DDT, and also you may take water


find solace in quarantines, perform shunnings,

or stand at Lourdes one of the canes and crutches.

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Extra resources for An Individual History: Poems

Example text

This interplay is a recurrent theme in Radnóti’s poems. Fejünket majd szépen lehajtjuk, most a bokrok közt hálunk, mint a madarak, neszelve hogy ropog a fiatal őzbak csontja amint álmában elnyúlva csak nő a pázsiton, mert barátunk látod, és talán még két hét; agancsa helyén már szép apró dúdorok nőnek és elbőgi álmában magát, hogy fölriadunk; előbb, mint a virágok nyitnák ajkuk a harmat előtt, előbb,—előbb, a hangjukat imádó részeg madarak énekénél mert jaj! oly messze még a derengés is; majd heverünk csak alvó bokrok leveleit tépdesve félve ujjaink között babonásan nyitott szemekkel nézzük egymást.

The Fifth Eclogue (“Ötödik Ecloga”) was written in memory of György Bálint, Radnóti’s friend and journalist who died in a labor camp in the Ukraine. The fate of the sixth eclogue in the cycle, or whether it was ever written, is unknown. ”14 The wind is one of these recurrent images, and in his early poems its appearance is a portent of a revolution to come, a hopeful sign of a much-anticipated left-wing uprising of the proletariat. Zsuzsanna Osváth, when writing of the students that constituted Radnóti’s circle of colleagues at the university in Szeged in the 1930s, observes: Idealistic to the core, these young artists emphasized their common aims, hopes, and goals.

On occasion I could not help but think that translation may be construed to be an act of violation, Introduction 13 and this for me was both a frightening and a humbling thought. The Early Years (1909–1932) For the English reader unfamiliar with Radnóti I wish to provide an overview of his life, for it will shed light on the themes that concerned him and on some of the influences that shaped his work. Miklós Radnóti was born Miklós Glatter on May 5, 1909, in Budapest. He came from humble beginnings and at birth both his mother and twin brother died, an event that would forever haunt him and appear throughout his poetry.

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