The World Shouldering I




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James Ragan is an internationally recognized poet who has been praised by Pulitzer winner Henry Taylor as “a snake charmer whose words work real magic.” In his newest collection, Ragan hails the imagination as the spirit that links us, “I am the sky’s shadow wish / writing this only to breathe its light.” With this line he shares in a poetics of moral responsibility, echoing Seamus Heaney’s “I rhyme to see myself / to set the darkness echoing.” Ragan sees the role of the artist as one who shoulders the burdens of himself as well as those of a beleaguered world. For his vision and compassion, playwright Vaclav Havel has called him“ an Ambassador of the Arts.” Indeed, these poems advocate for striking one’s own note in the face of a future whose business it is to be dangerous. Here is a gallery of marvels — poems of nature, love, jazz, family, and where some address the despairing tragedies of history, all remain affirmations of hope, reassuring and buoyant, a seasoned craftsman, combining the quotidian with a Yeatsian high poetic. Nowhere is this more eloquently expressed than in the opening poem “A Good Sky” whose sonorous textures call up earlier praise from Publishers Weekly, “he continues his song through the centuries in language that echoes Rilke.” These are poems of conscience, a voice to set the darkness echoing.

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2013 Editions Yves Salmon

Anglaise Langue anglaise | 76 pages | Sortie : 1 Mars 2013

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