Poet Robert Bly : shaman of the dark side

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lynne Martin Bowman (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Steven Lautermilch

Abstract: While Robert Bly suggests that the poet's role is rooted in the shaman's, critics have not yet looked at his poetry in light of the shaman's role. Often seen as divided between the private poems and the public, political poems, Bly's work displays not division, but rather the holism of the twofold shamanic vision where mystical journey into dark realms is publically performed in order to heal the tribe. In his shamanic vision of the dark side, Bly displays a kinship with D. H. Lawrence. In Lawrence's BIRDS, BEASTS AND FLOWERS poems and in many of Bly's poems, deep and detailed images of animals and plants portray attunement with nature and the dark side. Embodying the apparent differences of Bly's poetry, SLEEPERS JOINING HANDS uses the rhetoric of the shaman's performance to persuade the American tribe that the dark energy and horror of the Vietnam War was an effect of an underlying spiritual imbalance, an over-emphasis on the rational.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1989
Bly, Robert $x Criticism and interpretation
Bly, Robert $x Style

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