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Book Title: House of Lords and Commons|
The author of the book: Ishion Hutchinson
Date of issue: October 13th 2016
ISBN 13: 9780374173029
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 684 KB
Edition: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Read full description of the books House of Lords and Commons:For a volume that demands multiple readings and much patience to absorb, Hutchinson's oftentimes abstruse poems, nonetheless, compulsively draw you back to the challenge of understanding their complexity. His verses are densely constructed with rich and beautiful language, and when you begin to piece together the puzzle of his vision, the message can be both endearing and haunting. At their core, many of the poems attest to anguish from Hutchinson's personal past and over the condition of his home country of Jamaica. Longing and lamentation are dominant reflections throughout the poems, and the vivid imagery allows you to feel the Caribbean's lure of the sea and the intensity of its sun.
In the excellent lead poem "Station," Hutchinson envisions his absent father's appearance in a crowded station. But his imagining is for naught when the memory becomes "Pure echo in the train's / beam arriving on its cold nerve of iron." In a well-crafted narrative poem such as "Fitzy and the Revolution," he charts the fury of cane workers who have gone unpaid and demand their wages. Instead, their inclination for violence dissolves into reason, and they merely want to drown their sorrow with rum at Fitzy's shop. "Bicycle Eclogue" is another strong memory piece, where Hutchinson recalls the pain of a hand injury he experienced while falling off his bike. He reconstructs the subsequent tender moments he shared with his mother as she took him to receive medical care.
"Punishment" is one of the volume's most confessional pieces. Hutchinson blames himself for not having more reverence for the dead and "for my rejection / of things past." He goes on to explain the guilt he feels for not doing more to understand "the green graves / by the chapel." Other pieces such as "The Garden" deal with violence during a police crackdown, and "The Difference" confronts the world's many problems by considering how money, oil, greed, and indifference are the chief causes. "A Farther Shore" deals with race and inequality, while "The Ark by 'Scratch'" tackles the dynamics of history, mythology, colonialism, and the idea of Biblical apocalypse against the reality of now. The destructive nature of war is addressed in "October's Levant," and in the "The Wanderer" he captures the volatility of history's haunting presence. With a brilliant metaphor, he describes how "history is that rusty anchor holding no ship in bay . . ."
The damaging legacy of colonialism continues in "Marking in Venice," where Hutchinson addresses the vestiges of historical crimes and describes how they resonate as "just hate's old transfiguration, language's / treason, the savage cause carved in stone." In the latter half of the book, "Small Fantasia: Light Years" can be seen as a culmination of all the pain, and it allows Hutchinson to answer his own question: "What is terrifying about happiness? / Happiness." Taking in this diverse volume can be difficult, but Hutchinson's talent is unquestionable in the range and intensity of his vision, which he steeps with references and allusions both obvious and arcane. I detect Walcott, Heaney, and Olds among some of his influences, and it is no stretch to place Hutchinson's work in their company.
Read information about the authorIshion Hutchinson was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica. He is the author of the poetry collections, Far District: Poems (Peepal Tree Press, 2010) and House of Lords and Commons (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016). He teaches in the graduate writing program at Cornell University and is a contributing editor to the literary journals The Common and Tongue: A Journal of Writing & Art.
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