Kenneth O. Hanson Sally M. Gall - Essay

Sally M. Gall

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Hanson in The Uncorrected World depends heavily on literal situations for his poems' initial impetus. His descriptions, vignettes, and anecdotes of the passing Greek scene are … low keyed, however. His intensities are so tightly controlled by his flat, wry, self-ironic style that apparently passionate statements tend to be slightly cryptic, as in "Thermopylae," "Tsiganos," or "Desperate Moves." The desperate moves are those of a chameleon changing color as the background changes arbitrarily, apparently passive but endowed by the poet with some precious "split-second timing." The poem could be taken as a metaphor for Hanson's own poem making: an assertion that beneath a seemingly calm surface something vital, intense, and admirable is occurring. Hanson tends to understate both the historical and personal, while demanding the reader's sympathy for whatever psychological state he happens to be in. He seems to cultivate an air of rather weary detachment on the one hand while pleading for attachment on the other.

In "Flisvos Bus-stop" Hanson's objective note-taking style leaves a great deal up to the reader. We must make what we can of a meticulous description of a young wife serving her helpless husband. Are we to connect what might be deliberate mutilation with the junta's propensities for torture, or are we being asked to admire the young man's passive composure as all the ordinary motions of living go on around him? Hanson is...

(The entire section is 498 words.)