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By Harold Bloom

- Brings jointly the simplest feedback at the most generally learn poets, novelists, and playwrights - provides advanced serious snap shots of the main influential writers within the English-speaking world--from the English medievalists to modern writers - Introductory essay by way of Harold Bloom

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The year of the mask of blood, my father hammering on the glass door to get in was the year they found her body in the hills, in a shallow grave, naked, white as mushroom, partially decomposed, raped, murdered, the girl from my class. That was the year my mother took us and hid us so he could not get at us when she told him to leave; so there were no more tyings by the wrist to the chair, no more denial of food 28 Brian Dillon or the forcing of foods, the head held back, down the throat at the restaurant, the shame of vomited buttermilk down the sweater with its shame of new breasts.

A lot of the words stayed—the key words like parrot and spring and, of course, parsley. The first part was a villanelle. I thought I was going to do the entire poem from the Haitians’ point of view. And that wasn’t enough. I had this villanelle, but it wasn’t enough. 15 In these remarks we can see Dove’s attraction to obsessive forms like the sestina and the villanelle, but we can also see her principled refusal of their attraction when such “playfulness” threatens to interfere with a more important part of the poem’s “fit,” its moral seriousness.

In the nigger night, thick with the smell of cabbages, Nothing can catch us. ”7 This may owe something to Gwendolyn Brooks’ “We Real Cool,” but it avoids the prudishness of Brooks’s judgmental monologue, which though it is ostensibly spoken by adolescents, barely conceals its adult reproach of their behavior. Even as she was sketching historical personae and contemporary adolescents in her attempts to represent blackness, Dove was writing colorneutral poems. In fact, the best poem in The Yellow House on the Corner has not a word to say about the fraught subject of blackness.

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