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By Robert Wrigley

A robust new assortment from an award-winning poet Robert Wrigley has turn into considered one of his generation's so much finished poets, popular for his irony, energy, and lucid kind and for his skill to fuse narrative and lyrical impulses. Like its namesake—Robert Burton's seventeenth-century exam of human recommendations and emotions—Wrigley's new assortment capacity to check our global throughout the lens of melancholia. From imagined warfare memorials to insomniac chickens; from Descartes' misplaced daughter to a dreaming tree; from King Kong to hurry Limbaugh; and from Anna Karenina to a guy named Lucy Doolin (short for Lucifer), those are poems that elegize and have a good time that the majority attractive, exasperating, joyous, depressing, and completely imperfect of all creatures—the man or woman.

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To some extent Lowell is involved, in this poem, in what Terri Witek calls a 'takeover', 'an alternative possibility of identity that must be dismantled, or, rather, reconstructed as a version of himself': the poet wants to see whether there is something beyond his own identity and, in a curious way, beyond his power. Feminist Luce lrigaray would argue that such a desire is both generically male and inevitably doomed, for male identity depends on creating a relentless series of others who are not truly'other', but are mirror images of the central ego.

In 'Caligula' (UD 49-51) Lowell faces the problem of his own identification directly by asking why, at school, he took the name of the mad Roman emperor, and worrying that in Caligula's face he sees his own 'lowest depths of possibility'. Caligula is the opposite of the heroic selflessness Lowell celebrates in Colonel Shaw and Leonidas' hoplites, his megalomania is above all about imposing himself through destroying what is around him. The statues that surround him all have his head because he has smashed those of the gods and replaced them with his own.

In 'Caligula' (UD 49-51) Lowell faces the problem of his own identification directly by asking why, at school, he took the name of the mad Roman emperor, and worrying that in Caligula's face he sees his own 'lowest depths of possibility'. Caligula is the opposite of the heroic selflessness Lowell celebrates in Colonel Shaw and Leonidas' hoplites, his megalomania is above all about imposing himself through destroying what is around him. The statues that surround him all have his head because he has smashed those of the gods and replaced them with his own.

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