Poet Donna Hilbert has something to say about the idea of lament. And like the fine poet she is, she says it in poetry.
A lament is a poetic type inspired by deep, personal grief. The poetry of lament is as old as poetry itself, cording to the Encyclopedia Britannica, developing alongside the oral tradition of heroic poetry. And it’s found in most languages.
Examples of lament poetry have been found in ancient Sumeria, in Homer, in Roman literature, and in Anglo-Saxon England. Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Man of Laws Tale” in The Canterbury Tales is a lament, as is John Milton’s “Samson Agonistes.” Wordsworth, Keats, and Shelley wrote lament poems, as did Sir Walter Scott and Thomas Hardy (“The Darkling Thrush”). With In Memoriam, Tennyson may have written a lament epic. Dylan Thomas and Pablo Neruda wrote poems of lament.
Hilbert, in Threnody: Poems, her new collection of 62 poems, continues that tradition of lament, demonstrating that the modern lament is as contemporary as its older and ancient predecessors.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.
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