“Praised and admonished” faculty member Jan Clausen talks the importance of political poetry, forms, and the shouldn’t-be-a-reminder that we are living in history on Tarpaulin Sky.  Part One just posted.  Part Two coming soon.  Here’s a taste of it.  Read more at Tarpaulin Sky.

 The other thing I want to say about the “play of forms” in Veiled Spill is that it’s necessarily complemented by a play of perspectives. It’s in the nature of the recognition of how “far” and to what edge we’ve come as a species that one lives in a storm of contradictory emotions and judgments: grief and anger and shame at being part of a human collective that’s capable of vast cruelty and destruction; a wish to distance the self (sort of a “beam me up, Scotty” sentiment that surfaces in images of “lifting,” and finally gets rejected once and for all in the line “Praise Earth below, no lifting now.”); excitement (yes, excitement!–perverse as that seems) at the unfolding high-stakes drama; senses of helpless intimacy with and eerie estrangement from the pain of others. (But arethere really any “others”?) There’s even a decided Christian theological strand, because although I indignantly reject any form of theology as an excuse or explanation for cruelty and suffering, the ideas of Christianity about such things as Adam’s Fall, sin, and redemption happen to be the forms I’ve inherited in which that order of questions traditionally gets decanted. So the very fact that those religious forms come back to me becomes its own question.

I can say with some confidence that every use of the pronoun “I” in the book is both a manifestation of persona and a sort of confession. But other pronouns are important, too, most of all the invented pronoun “they we/we they” that points to the paradox of total responsibility and helplessness experienced on hearing news of preventable cataclysms.