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Donatello's Version [Paperback]

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Item description for Donatello's Version by James Scully...

These are post-9/11 poems examining such issues as the Holocaust, the prison scandals in Iraq, and other human rights violations.

Written as the war on terror morphed into an imperial war, Donatello's Version carries on the public poetry tradition of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Horace, Juvenal, Dante, Milton, Blake, and others. These poems arise from the premise that words matter, that the res publica (the human value that individuals in a community place above their own self-interest) also matters, and that the voice of the poet can make a difference.

In Donatello's Version, post-9/11 reality is re-viewed through Hamlet, Donatello's David, Lazarus, and Coltrane. Rather than being a poetry collection of answers, this is a poetry collection of questions, impasses, and revelations.

James Scully is considered one of the most important figures in poetry that engages the reader in social and political issues. Born in 1937 in New Haven, Connecticut, he is the winner of the 1967 Lamont Award and the recipient of a 1973 Guggenheim Fellowship. He spent 1973 and 1974 in Santiago, Chile, on which his book Santiago Poems is based. Over the years, his poetry has appeared in many diverse periodicals. He currently lives in San Francisco.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   105
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2007
Publisher   Curbstone Press
ISBN  1931896313  
ISBN13  9781931896313  

Availability  0 units.

More About James Scully

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! For many years, James Scully, along with others, quietly radicalized American poetry -in theory and in practice, in how it is lived as well as in how it is written. He was born in New Haven, CT. Professor Emeritus of the University of Connecticut, he has won numerous honors, including a Lamont Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He lives in San Francisco.

James Scully has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Greek Tragedy in New Translations (Paperback)

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > English > American Literature
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > General
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Single Authors > United States
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Poetry > 20th Century
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Poetry > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Donatello's Version?

The year's best? Maybe. Most important? Yes, indeed.  Dec 16, 2007
In his "Afterword" to Raging Beauty (1994) James Scully says, "I know longer write poetry." With Donatello's Version that is no longer true. Oh, Scully's back all right and none too soon. DV's poems will rip your head off. If you're looking for Odes, dig out your Keats (nothing wrong with that). But if you're looking for poems on depleted uranium, death by atomic bomb, boxcars filled with victims and victimizers (ie, us), Hamlet American-style, old women babbling about leaving the party that is their final home, and bombed out wedding parties, Scully's your man. And Scully needs to be your man. He doesn't just put his readers' feet to the fire, he makes us part of the fire. He makes us feel the heat, question why it burns and who...and who started each particular fire. And, most importantly, who allows those fires to continue and continue and continue to burn so destructively.

It would be tempting to call Scully's work Poetry of Witness (as a blurb on this page does) except witnesses are usually detached - spectators. You will not feel detached. Scully has no patience for passivity. You will have to deal with "those impossible dead/growing out of their deaths/into an army of trees" ("Qana"). When, as Hamlet did, you "discover [your] own hand in [your] own blood" ("The Hamlet Mess"), you will realize the point is not to wash away the blood but to do something about its being there.

(Special bonus comment: Start with Donatello's Version then the read Scully's necessary essay "Afterword: Culture War" from Raging Beauty: Selected Poems - and go from there. (And thank Curbstone Press for championing Scully's work.))

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