Winter 2011 • Vol. XXXIII No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2011 |

Antipope

I like to think of the old schismatic pope, Benedict XIII, Pedro de Luna of Aragon, abandoned by all the kings who once paid him obeisance; his palace at Avignon besieged for five years by his old friends the French; seventeen cardinals peeling away overnight while he nipped out a back door, into Spain; proscribed, excommunicated, refusing to resign; recognizing no royal or papal power but his own; disputing with and harshly persecuting Jews; dying at ninety-five, alone, holed up in a fort on a crag on the isle of Peniscola, still absolutely right; his bones scattered centuries later in civil war. Only his skull remains—empty, adamantine, anointed, and phosphorescent with perduring self-regard. 

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Rosanna Warren teaches in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Her book of criticism, Fables of the Self: Studies in Lyric Poetry, came out in 2008. Her most recent books of poems are Departure (2003) and Ghost in a Red Hat (2011).

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By Rosanna Warren

I like to think of the old schismatic pope, Benedict XIII, Pedro de Luna of Aragon, abandoned by all the kings who once paid him obeisance; his palace at Avignon […]

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