Mona Van Duyn Essay - Mona Van Duyn Poetry: American Poets Analysis

Mona Van Duyn Poetry: American Poets Analysis

In an epigraph to one of her poems, Mona Van Duyn cited Norman O. Brown: “Freud says that ideas are libidinal cathexes, that is to say, acts of love.” For Van Duyn also, ideas were acts of love. Hers is a poetry shaped around the impact of ideas on one who is in love with them. To write poetry was, for her, to engage in an act of love. To write poetry was to make real the world, which, although it exists externally, becomes known only when the mind’s projections play over it. The life from which she wrote was the life of the mind; there are few overtly dramatic events in her poetry. Her mind was excited by language—hence the frequent literary references in her poems—but it was also excited by what is not-mind, everyday...

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