Another Reason by Carl Dennis

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By Carl Dennis

From the winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Ruth Lilly Prize

The poems in Carl Dennis's new assortment Another Reason suppose that our efforts to cause with ourselves and with others approximately what concerns to us are essential to break out the in basic terms inner most viewpoint, to supply the homes we are living in with doorways and home windows. those poems enact a drama of tried persuasion, because the poet confers with himself, with intimates, and with strangers, if in simple terms within the wish that by way of defining changes extra accurately one will be drawn right into a real discussion. because the poet asserts and questions his personal authority, encountering a variety of competing claims from different voices, we discover ourselves incorporated in a talk that deepens our inspiration of the human group.

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Example text

And like Tennyson in 'The Two Voices' Hardy must have been attracted to the phrase because it describes a divine communication which is rather subtler than any spectacular wind, earthquake, fire or emissary angel. The phrase holds so many memories, while its whispered question: 'What doest thou here r represents his sense of his own irrelevance not just to the fire and thunder on the battlefields in France at the time but to life generally now that he has outlived her love and his success. Though he was an agnostic Hardy described himself as 'churchy'.

On the other he could quote St Paul in a context that entirely contradicts the meaning of the biblical verse. In 'I Travel' his mind becomes a kind of ghost moving invisibly through a world of unsympathetic and gloomy people, and it's perhaps this wandering, travelling quality which is a feature of so much of his work that explains why the Aeneid was one of his favourite books. His mother gave him a copy of Dryden's translation when he was eight and like Shelley's poetry or 'that chapter in Kings' or verses like 'the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now' it stayed in his mind, becoming a permanent impression.

There is a terrifying feeling of isolation in this idea. It's there in Shelley's echo of Satan ('The mind is its own place, and of itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven') and it's also present in Mill's Autobiosraphy, not just in his account of the spiritual deadness his Benthamite education left him with, but in this brief mention of how he argued against the Benthamite, Roebuck, that: The intensest feeling of the beauty of a cloud lighted up by the setting sun, is no hindrance to my knowing that the cloud is vapour of water, subject to all the laws of vapours in a state of suspension.

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