Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cursing Silence

I first learned of Linda McCarriston in Bill Moyers' film series The Language of Life: A Festival of Poets that I showed to a first-year literature class. I was awed by her poetry, especially the work she read from her 1991 book Eva-Mary.

Many of the poems in Eva-Mary deal with McCarriston's cruel and violent childhood with a father who beat her and her brother, and sexually abused and assaulted both McCarriston and her mother.

In these poems, McCarriston, with pointed and precise language, transfixes the reader, as her gaze does not waver from the brutal scenes of her past.

My earlier post -Voice of Silence - reminded me of McCarriston's poetry, especially the poem "To Judge Faolin, Dead Long Enough: A Summons" from Eva-Mary. McCarriston summons the spirit of the judge who sent her mother back to her violently abusive husband. He would not hear the agony of the woman appealing to him. In short, he gave her testimony little weight when set against the preservation of the family and the law.

In her interview with Bill Moyers, McCarriston says that this poem is an example of "flinging the curse."

Reminds me of Solnit's curse on Mr. Very Important II and my borrowing of it to curse Mr. Justice Douglas Cunningham - To Judge Faolin: "a carbuncle on the face of humanity and an obstacle to civilization".

I would like to invite Linda McCarriston to my soiree.

No comments: