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Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry…
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Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness (1993)

by Carolyn Forché (Editor)

Other authors: Adonis (Contributor), Ilse Aichinger (Contributor), Anna Akhmatova (Contributor), Rafael Alberti (Contributor), Claribel Alegria (Contributor)140 more, Yehuda Amichai (Contributor), Guillaume Apollinaire (Contributor), Tudor Arghezi (Contributor), WH Auden (Contributor), Gojko Đogo (Contributor), Jimmy Santiago Baca (Contributor), Ingeborg Bachmann (Contributor), John Balaban (Contributor), Amiri Baraka (Contributor), Stanislaw Baranczak (Contributor), Bei Dao (Contributor), Gottfried Benn (Contributor), Daniel Berrigan (Contributor), Horst Bienek (Contributor), Johannes Bobrowski (Contributor), Tadeusz Borowski (Contributor), Bertolt Brecht (Contributor), Andre Breton (Contributor), Breyten Breytenbach (Contributor), Joseph Brodsky (Contributor), Edith Bruck (Contributor), Dennis Brutus (Contributor), Ion Caraion (Contributor), Nina Cassian (Contributor), Otto Rene Castillo (Contributor), Constantine P. Cavafy (Contributor), Paul Celan (Contributor), Rene Char (Contributor), Jeremy Cronin (Contributor), Angel Cuadra (Contributor), e.e. cummings (Contributor), Roque Dalton (Contributor), Mahmoud Darwish (Contributor), Teresa de Jesus (Contributor), Robert Desnos (Contributor), Ariel Dorfman (Contributor), Alan Dugan (Contributor), Duoduo (Contributor), Gunter Eich (Contributor), Paul Eluard (Contributor), Odysseas Elytis (Contributor), George Evans (Contributor), Faiz Ahmad Faiz (Contributor), James Fenton (Contributor), Erich Fried (Contributor), Yvan Goll (Contributor), Natalya Gorbanevskaya (Contributor), Gunter Grass (Contributor), Robert Graves (Contributor), H.D. (Contributor), Anthony Hecht (Contributor), Zbigniew Herbert (Contributor), Miguel Hernandez (Contributor), Nazim Hikmet (Contributor), Vladimir Holan (Contributor), Peter Huchel (Contributor), Langston Hughes (Contributor), Richard Hugo (Contributor), Edmond Jabès (Contributor), Max Jacob (Contributor), Tomasz Jastrun (Contributor), Attila Jozsef (Contributor), Daniil Kharms (Contributor), Velimir Khlebnikov (Contributor), Galway Kinnell (Contributor), Sarah Kirsch (Contributor), Irena Klepfisz (Contributor), Etheridge Knight (Contributor), Gertrude Kolmar (Contributor), Yusef Komunyakaa (Contributor), Abba Kovner (Contributor), Stanley Kunitz (Contributor), Denise Levertov (Contributor), Primo Levi (Contributor), Federico Garcia Lorca (Contributor), Robert Lowell (Contributor), Ondra Lysohorsky (Contributor), Antonio Machado (Contributor), Louis MacNeice (Contributor), Osip Mandelstam (Contributor), Jack Mapanje (Contributor), Vladimir Mayakovsky (Contributor), Walter McDonald (Contributor), Thomas McGrath (Contributor), Czeslaw Milosz (Contributor), Eugenio Montale (Contributor), Es'kia Mphahlele (Contributor), Howard Nemerov (Contributor), Pablo Neruda (Contributor), Vitezslav Nezval (Contributor), George Oppen (Contributor), Jiri Orten (Contributor), Wilfred Owen (Contributor), Heberto Padilla (Contributor), Dan Pagis (Contributor), Nicanor Parra (Contributor), Boris Pasternak (Contributor), Cesare Pavese (Contributor), Benjamin Peret (Contributor), Saint-John Perse (Contributor), Janos Pilinszky (Contributor), Jan Polkowski (Contributor), Francis Ponge (Contributor), Ezra Pound (Contributor), Jacques Prevert (Contributor), Salvatore Quasimodo (Contributor), Miklos Radnoti (Contributor), Irina Ratushinskaya (Contributor), Yannis Ritsos (Contributor), Tadeusz Rozewicz (Contributor), Muriel Rukeyser (Contributor), Nelly Sachs (Contributor), Siegfried Sassoon (Contributor), George Seferis (Contributor), Jaroslav Seifert (Contributor), Sipho Sepamla (Contributor), Victor Serge (Contributor), Siamanto (Contributor), Charles Simic (Contributor), Louis Simpson (Contributor), Philippe Soupalt (Contributor), Wole Soyinka (Contributor), Stephen Spender (Contributor), Gertrude Stein (Contributor), Anna Swir (Contributor), Wislawa Szymborska (Contributor), Tamura Ryuiuchi (Contributor), Vahan Tekeyan (Contributor), Dylan Thomas (Contributor), Edward Thomas (Contributor), Georg Trakl (Contributor), Quincy Troupe (Contributor), Marina Tsvetayeva (Contributor), Fadwa Tuquan (Contributor), Tristan Tzara (Contributor), Cesar Vallejo (Contributor), Aleksander Wat (Contributor), Bruce Weigl (Contributor), Richard Wright (Contributor), Ray A. Young Bear (Contributor)

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273166,106 (4.35)14
Modern poems deal with genocide, wars, revolutions, the Holocaust, political repression, apartheid, and the democracy movement in China.

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» See also 14 mentions

This anthology of poetry borne of twentieth century atrocities is characterized succinctly by the opening "Motto" from Bertolt Brecht:

In the dark times, will there also be singing?
Yes, there will be singing.
About the dark times.

The collection includes poems from all over the world (many are therefore translations) arranged in sections according to geography and major events.

The poets included herein strove to record their experiences in something less fragile than the human body; indeed, many of these poets did not survive the tragedies of which they wrote. Their words, however, allow us to see and feel what they endured, by using a medium not subject to the emotional neutralization of factual accounts. (See, for example, Saul Friedlander in "Reflections of Nazism," who wrote that [film and] literature can overcome the "normalization," the blockage, the paralysis, of historical analysis "by giving free rein to the imaginary and to the phantasms; by re-evoking an atomosphere, an aesthetic, a desire; by playing on all the facets of horror.")

Taking a positive outlook, Carolyn Forche, who wrote the Introduction to this anthology, contends "The poetry of witness reclaims the social from the political and in so doing defends the individual against illegitimate forms of coercion." Forche remarks on the many forms each poem in the collection takes: "impassioned or ironic ... it will curse and it will bless..." There is one poem she did not include that does both. Paul Celan is included in the anthology, but not this poem about his "poplar" (his people), which I reproduce here in full, because it is so beautiful, and because it belongs here as well:

I heard it said, there be
in the water a stone and a circle,
and over the water a word
that places the circle
around the stone.

I saw my poplar go down to the water.
I saw how her arm grasped down into the deep.
I saw her roots raised heavenward, begging for night.

I did not hasten to follow her.

I only picked up from the ground that breadcrumb
which has your eye's form and nobility;
I unclasped from your throat the chain of the sayings
and with it bordered the table, where now the crumb lay.

And saw my poplar no more.

Paul Celan's parents were killed in the Holocaust. He committed suicide in 1970. Some poems in this collection will be more familiar to Westerners than others; all of them are a gift, a last reach heavenward, from many who saw daylight no more.

(JAF)
2 vote nbmars | Apr 15, 2007 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Forché, CarolynEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
AdonisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aichinger, IlseContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Akhmatova, AnnaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alberti, RafaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alegria, ClaribelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amichai, YehudaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Apollinaire, GuillaumeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arghezi, TudorContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Auden, WHContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Đogo, GojkoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baca, Jimmy SantiagoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bachmann, IngeborgContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Balaban, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baraka, AmiriContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baranczak, StanislawContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bei DaoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benn, GottfriedContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Berrigan, DanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bienek, HorstContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bobrowski, JohannesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Borowski, TadeuszContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brecht, BertoltContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Breton, AndreContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Breytenbach, BreytenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brodsky, JosephContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bruck, EdithContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brutus, DennisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Caraion, IonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cassian, NinaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Castillo, Otto ReneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cavafy, Constantine P.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Celan, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Char, ReneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cronin, JeremyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cuadra, AngelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
cummings, e.e.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dalton, RoqueContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Darwish, MahmoudContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
de Jesus, TeresaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Desnos, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dorfman, ArielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dugan, AlanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
DuoduoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eich, GunterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eluard, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elytis, OdysseasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Evans, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Faiz, Faiz AhmadContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fenton, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fried, ErichContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goll, YvanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gorbanevskaya, NatalyaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grass, GunterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Graves, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
H.D.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hecht, AnthonyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Herbert, ZbigniewContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hernandez, MiguelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hikmet, NazimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holan, VladimirContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Huchel, PeterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hughes, LangstonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hugo, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jabès, EdmondContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jacob, MaxContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jastrun, TomaszContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jozsef, AttilaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kharms, DaniilContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Khlebnikov, VelimirContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kinnell, GalwayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kirsch, SarahContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Klepfisz, IrenaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Knight, EtheridgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kolmar, GertrudeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Komunyakaa, YusefContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kovner, AbbaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kunitz, StanleyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Levertov, DeniseContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Levi, PrimoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lorca, Federico GarciaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lowell, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lysohorsky, OndraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Machado, AntonioContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
MacNeice, LouisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mandelstam, OsipContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mapanje, JackContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mayakovsky, VladimirContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McDonald, WalterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McGrath, ThomasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Milosz, CzeslawContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Montale, EugenioContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mphahlele, Es'kiaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nemerov, HowardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Neruda, PabloContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nezval, VitezslavContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oppen, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Orten, JiriContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Owen, WilfredContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Padilla, HebertoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pagis, DanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Parra, NicanorContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pasternak, BorisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pavese, CesareContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Peret, BenjaminContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Perse, Saint-JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pilinszky, JanosContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Polkowski, JanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ponge, FrancisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pound, EzraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Prevert, JacquesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Quasimodo, SalvatoreContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Radnoti, MiklosContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ratushinskaya, IrinaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ritsos, YannisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rozewicz, TadeuszContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rukeyser, MurielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sachs, NellyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sassoon, SiegfriedContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Seferis, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Seifert, JaroslavContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sepamla, SiphoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Serge, VictorContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
SiamantoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Simic, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Simpson, LouisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Soupalt, PhilippeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Soyinka, WoleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Spender, StephenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stein, GertrudeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Swir, AnnaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Szymborska, WislawaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tamura RyuiuchiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tekeyan, VahanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Thomas, DylanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Thomas, EdwardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Trakl, GeorgContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Troupe, QuincyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tsvetayeva, MarinaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tuquan, FadwaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tzara, TristanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vallejo, CesarContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wat, AleksanderContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Weigl, BruceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wright, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Young Bear, Ray A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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