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Related Poems
Untitled [Is is]
by Srikanth Reddy
by Paul Mariani
Related Pages
Summer Reading 2011
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Books Noted
Srikanth Reddy, Voyager


University of California Press, 2011

Reddy's second book of poems uses as its source text the memoir of Kurt Waldheim, secretary-general of the UN from 1972 to 1981, who kept silent about his past as an intelligence offer in Hitler's regime. Through a series of erasures in varied forms, Reddy translates and retranslates Waldheim's memoir and creates a narrative somehow steeped in universality. As Marjorie Perloff writes, "Voyager does what no "original" history poem could do: it exposes 'Waldheim's disease' as much more than one individual's particular mendacity." Themes of power, identity, self-realization, hope, and leadership permeate this collection, which, as John Ashbery notes, "unwinds at a hypnotic pace, inexorable as a set of philosophic prepositions, yet also strangely porous, like poetry." From the last poem in the second series of translations:

Now I realize that, in the theatres of neutrality, the heart freezes. This is a difficult problem. Everybody watches the wheel as it turns...
I embraced a new work. It was
engendered in my dream. It was built of desire.
Experience taught me that, in the final analysis,
nothing ends. The first steps must follow.

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