At a glance:
- Author: James Merrill
- First Published: 1972
- Type of Work: Poem
- Genres: Poetry, War poetry
- Subjects: Mythology or myths, Revolutionaries, New York City, Protests or demonstrations, Communication, Vietnam War, War, Bombs, Peace, Fire, Clocks or watches, Furniture, Explosions or explosives, Gardens or gardening, Mirrors or lenses
“18 West 11th Street” seems to have been inspired by a newspaper report: Certain anti-Vietnam War protesters had a house blow up around them while they were trying to make bombs. The only survivor was a young woman named Cathy Wilkerson, seen running from the building naked and covered with blood.
The poem is one of Merrill’s most difficult—at least partially because it tries to tell three stories at once. The first is the story of the bombing: The five revolutionaries are fed up with society and its warmongering leaders. They have given up trying to use...
(The entire page is 802 words.)
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