Fall 2009 • Vol. XXXI No. 4 Poetry |

Exegesis in Wartime

Hemingway has a sentence that I think of as a masterpiece of small engineering. Think of a paper clip: small, plain, but someone had to think of it, actually make it. Think of a brown paper bag: it can take just so much weight, a couple of pounds maybe, but one ounce more and it breaks. I'm talking about weight and measure, the possibility for tensile extension in a sentence, the words lined up like the units of a train, the syntax of blue and black cars: In the fall the war was always there, but we did not go to it anymore.       When al-Mutanabi returned to Baghdad       in 965, he was killed by bandits just outside the city.       In life he had wandered among Bedouins       and princes, in the intrigues and the solitudes of exile,       as much a courtier as a poet. Brash,       he claimed to be a prophet. In a poem written       in Egypt, he had a fever that came to him  

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Kismet

By Lisa Russ Spaar

Hemingway has a sentence that I think of as a masterpiece of small engineering. Think of a paper clip: small, plain, but someone had to think of it, actually make […]

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