An Individual History: Poems by Michael Collier

By Michael Collier

An person History describes the fears, anger, and guilt—personal, familial, societal, political, and historical—that contain a lifestyles. The determine of the speaker’s maternal grandmother who used to be institutionalized for 5 a long time serves as an overriding metaphor for this haunting, daring new paintings via an important American poet.

from “An person History

This used to be ahead of the time of lithium and Zoloft

before temper stabilizers and anxiolytics

and just about all the psychotropic medicinal drugs, yet no longer before


which the suicide O’Laughlin known as “handcuffs for the


It was once ahead of, in the course of, and after the time of atomic


Auschwitz, the Nakba, DDT, and also you may well take water


find solace in quarantines, perform shunnings,

or stand at Lourdes one of the canes and crutches.

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Indeed, the play caused a tremendous uproar and was condemned in periodicals throughout the 1820s for its blasphemous arguments against the goodness of the Deity. 59 Cowper and Byron seem to have been sensitive to what we now call geological research well before their substantial publics were inclined to meditate the problem with them. Tennyson read these poets extensively in early life, and he might have witnessed the Cain uproar firsthand as a teenager. Accordingly, he may have been less preternaturally sensitive to the fears of his age and time than simply prepared for them by the English poetic tradition.

21–22). 24 The opening passage is worth citing, since Barrett’s additional metaphor in the Seraphim preface of the Christian poet as a “seeing eagle” also comes from here: When the young Eagle, with exulting eye, Has learn’d to dare the splendor of the sky, And leave the Alps beneath him in his course, To bathe his crest in morn’s empyreal source, Will his free wing, from that majestic height, Descend to follow some wild meteor’s light, Which far below, with evanescent fire, Shines to delude, and dazzles to expire?

The blind eagle missed the sun, but soared toward its sphere. Shall the blind eagle soar—and the seeing eagle peck chaff? Surely it should be the gladness and gratitude of such as are poets among us, that in turning towards the beautiful, they may behold the true face of God. (1838 Preface, v–xvi) Barrett’s verse drama, in other words, flies in the face of Shelley and Goethe (who both conceive of Prometheus as an improvement upon Christ) so as to imagine what Aeschylus himself might have written had he only lived in more auspicious times: that is, in Christian ones.

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