Present Absences: The lyric poem’s reconstruction of loss

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Many lyric poets register absence and loss in their work, to the extent that the sense of the inef able conveyed by lyric poems may frequently result from an attempt to conjure an image of what is irrevocably gone. Bruce Fink contends, ‘Absence cannot even be understood as some thing until it is named’ (2004: 139) and, for lyric poets, that act of naming is usually the poem itself—which, in trying and failing to close the gap between reality and language, suggests the inherent poignancy of so much lyric utterance. Many poems that appear to be about presence are really reconstituting a sense of absence, formulating the lost in an unparaphrasable linguistic construction. The meanings of such poems are never fully available or explicable, caught as they are between a new image of what is gone and the unlocatable nature of what that image stands in for.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-48
Number of pages5
JournalAxon: Creative Explorations
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


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