A Gilded Lapse of Time by Gjertrud Schnackenberg

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Nadine Gordimer once remarked that Gjertrud Schnackenberg's poems "move me in a way that I don't really think I have experienced since I first read Rilke at sixteen or seventeen."

A Gilded Lapse of Time, Schnackenberg's third volume, is presented in three sections: the title sequence, concerning a visit to Dante's tomb in Ravenna; "Crux of Radiance," a series of poems exploring the making and unmaking of the image of God in scenes from the Passion narrative; and "A Monument in Utopia," about the destruction of the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam at the hands of Stalin.

Setting legends of the Creation against history's record of catastrophe, setting acts of miraculous art-making against themes of God's world-making, the poems in A Gilded Lapse of Time search out the relationship between poetry and history, the ways they haunt one another, and the guilt that poetry and history share in one another's unfolding. The poet's treatment of the themes of human and divine handiwork--of earthly and celestial love, faith and refusal, oblivion and remembrance--attains to an incandescent vision of the past as a realm that lies before rather than behind us.

About Gjertrud Schnackenberg

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Gertrud Schnackenberg was born in Tacoma, Washington. She graduated from Mount Holyoke, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from that college in 1985. She has also received the Lavan Younger Poets Award (judged by Robert Fitzgerald) from the Academy of American Poets, and the Rome Prize in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.
Published November 1, 1992 by Farrar Straus & Giroux (T). 143 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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As she tours the ghostly Mausoleum of Galla Placidiasic and Dante's tomb at Ravenna, Schnackenberg ( Portraits and Elegies ) finds in Italian Renaissance art the multifarious inspiration for this rema

Nov 02 1992 | Read Full Review of A Gilded Lapse of Time

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Just as Dante tears the branch from the thorn tree and discovers the human suicides who speak in blood, this poet too draws vital connections between poetic language and mortal pain, and begs Dante, ``If you would love them, do this much for them, / To let them be.

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