D. H. Melhem
"Belying all of prior literary history, a currently fashionable
critical dictum holds that any poetry engaging the
real world is necessarily impure and unworthy of respect
or admiration. D. H. Melhem’s powerful Art and Politics /
Politics and Art kicks down the door of that comfy salon
and lets in the fresh air of heroism, of racial equality, of
courageous feminism, of social conscience, of pacifism."
—Philip Appleman, author of New and Selected Poems,
Probing, wide-ranging, brimming with passion and outrage, Melhem’s
eighth collection of poems grips the reader with accounts of individual
triumphs and the ongoing catastrophic conflicts of our world. The author
draws on her years as a painter and sculptor to bring a distinct visual
and tactile quality to her poetry.
In this volume, Melhem proceeds from robust individual portraits
through observable terrains to traumatic visions of war. "Certain
Personae" ranges from black writers to Abraham Lincoln, from a portrait
of the suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton to the poetry of John Updike,
and finishes with paintings of Hannibal crossing the Alps. In "Mostly
Political," the poems traverse the local and the universal: melting polar
ice caps, capitalism, a painting by Max Ernst interpreted in antithetical
ways, and a poem surveying Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the
context of international events. "Wars," the third and last section, gives
intimate and searing glimpses of the Trojan War, World War I, the Gulf
War, the Iraq war, and the conflict over Palestine.
D. H. Melhem has won an American Book Award and the RAWI Lifetime
Achievement Award, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize
three times. She is the author of seven books of poetry, a trilogy of novels,
and three nonfiction books. New York Poems, Blight, and Stigma &
the Cave are all available from Syracuse University Press.
5 x 8, 80 pages