Jaccottet’s ‘Hymn’

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From Philippe Jaccottet Selected Poems trans Derek Mahon (Wake Forest University Press).

Implicit in lyric is a system of ‘persons’— auditors and speakers — and the activizing of these undermines the dualism of modern knowledge. The implied ‘you’ may become a central principle and its emergence in full immanence the drama of the poem. Jaccottet’s address to this ‘you’ fulfills the promise of lyric as a threshold between human and divine.
Yes this comment bristles with theories about lyric. We need a coherent demonstration of lyric’s role in contemporary cultural work against nihilism of modernity/capitalism.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at tom.develyn@comcast.net. D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at http://tdevelyn.com and other sites.

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