Randolph Chilton: On "Testimony"
Naturally, nearly all of the poems describe a criminal act or circumstances surrounding such an act. In addition to their content, Reznikoff's editing strongly reinforces his dark view of the period he worked with.
[. . . .]
The macabre facts of these cases are left to speak for themselves, but the cumulative effect of such descriptions is to evoke on the reader's part a growing sense of "a world of horror and violence," in one reviewer's words. Reznikoff says, "I didn't invent the world, but I felt it." On another level, of course, if we read sensitively, we must remember that the speakers describe the world of our own ancestors--a world we have inherited. In this context, Reznikoff's unornamented rendering of the records of murder, incest, violent crime, and cut-throat greed finally makes us perceive our world as strangely as any surrealist perceives it, but with a much more historically oriented sensibility.
|Title||Randolph Chilton: On "Testimony"||Type of Content||Criticism|
|Criticism Author||Milton Hindus||Criticism Target||Charles Reznikoff|
|Criticism Type||Poet||Originally Posted||24 May 2020|
|Publication Status||Excerpted Criticism||Publication||"Charles Reznikoff: Objective Witness"|
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|Contexts||No Data||Tags||No Data|