Ange Mlinko

  • culture September 26, 2012

    Robert Duncan: The Ambassador From Venus by Lisa Jarnot

    Ever since The Iliad and The Odyssey were ascribed to Homer, the blind poet has served as a metaphor for the ability to catch sight of things beyond mere appearance. Robert Duncan, born in 1919, belonged to this tribe of seers. At the age of 3, he slipped in the snow in Yosemite while wearing sunglasses against the glare; they shattered, and the injury resulted in strabismus—a condition in which the eyes cannot focus on the same object.

  • Magic Marker

    In his first book, Pavane (1981), David Trinidad included a poem titled “The Peasant Girl,” derived from Charles Perrault’s fairy tale “Diamonds and Toads.” The poet presents an unwanted girl who stoically keeps house for her stepmother until the day she is visited by a hideous crone who begs for a drink of well water; the girl complies, and, for a reward, the crone says, “Whenever you speak, / beautiful flowers and priceless gems shall flow / into the world with your words.” The girl rushes home, anxious to tell

    about the fairy and how I had passed

  • The God Couple

    It’s hard to know whether the yearning for transcendence is what keeps poets in business or whether it’s exactly the thing that makes their business so marginal to profane, multifarious contemporary life. Variations on the theme “Get over it” are ambient, like those messages encouraging folks to forget God and start enjoying themselves that a group called the British Humanist Association paid to have plastered on the sides of London buses last winter. Employing strikingly different means, a pair of books by two New York–based, very cosmopolitan poets demonstrates an unseemly interest in God.