CSLC Book Six: A Poetics of Hiroshima

Yesterday afternoon, I gave a brief presentation on William Heyen’s A Poetics of Hiroshima, a poetry collection that continues in the “Heyen tradition” of Holocaust study but also approaches other atrocities of the war, including the Hiroshima bombing.  This collection of poetry is part of Chautauqua’s book club selection for this summer.

It’s interesting but when the head of CSLC asked me to review A Poetics of Hiroshima, I really thought he meant review it — but then I found out that he wanted me to introduce the text to an audience who may not know a lot about poetry(even though they are readers — they belong to a book club, afterall).  To use the cliche’ — that’s a whole different ballgame and to be honest, a lot more fun than writing and presenting a more formal review.

Still, A Poetics of Hiroshima is a challenging read.  Heyen takes risks with form, and his mix of poetry and somewhat prosey verse may be confusing to some readers.  And of course, the subject of the atrocities of war is always hard to read.  All in all, I liked A Poetics of Hiroshima well enough — in fact, I went back to read several of Heyen’s earlier works, and it’s interesting to see the progression of his work. 

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