Etruscan Press

Who’s Afraid of Helen of Troy: An Essay on Love By: David Lazar

SKU 978-0-9903221-1-5


In Who’s Afraid of Helen of Troy, David Lazar extends the language of prose poetry, mixing the classical and the high modern, the song and dance man, and the Odyssean. Nothing, he finds, is as far apart as we think, except for chaos and order, innocence and experience. Who’s Afraid of Helen of Troy is a sequence of prose poems about the ravages of love, how we desire it, and whether we care to recover.

The voice in these prose poems is semi-autobiographical, and performative; masked yet emotionally raw. It draws on features of modernist poetry, uses an arch, cadenced sentence as its primary unit, but draws on the Iliad, Odyssey, and other classical myths as part of its internal cosmos. The book is an essay, of sorts, and a chorus of one, splintered. It takes the prose poem to a new pitch of expressive and intellectual discourse.

The speaker dreams himself in and out of movies and cities: Troy, Paris, London. On the verge of dissolution, he understands that memory is almost never a consolation, that it draws blood as a price for its music. When we are ashen, irony is the instrument that we keep checking for in our pockets. Lazar’s voice is a sacred last resort: something’s gotta give.

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About The Author

David Lazar’s books include essays: Occasional Desire<, (Nebraska) and The <Body of Brooklyn (Iowa); prose poetry: Powder Town (Pecan Grove) nonfiction anthologies: Truth in Nonfiction (Iowa), After Montaigne (forthcoming from Georgia), and Essaying the Essay (Welcome Table Press); and interview collections: Michael Powell: Interviews and Conversations with M.F.K. Fisher (both Mississippi). He has lectured widely on nonfiction and editing, and founded the Ph.D. program in nonfiction writing at Ohio University, and directed the creation of the MFA program in nonfiction at Columbia College Chicago, where he teaches. He is the founding editor of Hotel Amerika, now in its fourteenth year.

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