Monday, March 28, 2005

The Ethics of Memory

There's a very interesting piece by Susan Schultz up on Silliman's Blog today. It's extremely rare that I find poems written in response to the events of September 11, 2001 to be interesting anymore - forgive me for that, and remember I'm talking about the writing, not the emotion or the person behind the writing, and remember we've all read hundreds of poems on that subject by now. But The Untraumatized Man, from Portraits:Parables (TinFish Press) puts a fascinating character and a compelling prose poem style together for something that really struck me. I'll leave it to you to go get the whole poem, but the lines that stay in my head are:

If the newspaper is his daily prayer, he has failed to utter it. If there is an ethics of memory, his is incomplete.

Newspaper as prayer: Is news the way we pay homage to things larger than us? Ethics of memory: Is there an expectation that a society has a collective memory, at least of altering events?

Thoughtful stuff, written well.

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