Benjamin John and other poems

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kelly Cherry (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Fred Chappell

Abstract: Benjamin John is a narrative made up of lyrics in the present tense: But it covers a considerable length of time. The result is a collapse of time, or should be, so that the reader, at the end of it, wonders where Benjamin John's life has gone. But the Lyric Cycle uses a static story line and a confusion in tense and address to do the opposite: So that although little or no time passes, the reader, at the end, feels, I hope, that at least a year has gone by. I think these techniques, if indeed they do work, are more than mere tricks. The male sense of time seems to me often heavily weighted with a sense of bereavement. "It might have been" sums up Benjamin John's view of his life. I wished to collapse the time in his poems because these sad words are so by virtue of their utter inability to move within time.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1967

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