Chapter

The Early Poems

Lee Spinks

in Michael Ondaatje

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780719066320
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781703113 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719066320.003.0002
The Early Poems

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This chapter explores Ondaatje's first four published books, which were volumes of poetry. The first, The Dainty Monsters, features tension between the evident stability of established cultural norms and values and the arrival of a ‘monstrous’ and destructive force found beneath the surface of things. This volume demonstrates that Ondaatje's early works are placed at the border between the inhuman and human worlds. The discussion then turns to Peter, which is concerned with domination and the dialectic of enlightenment, and the man with seven toes, a poem that accords with Ondaatje's conception of the unmediated power of the ‘point-blank’ narrative.

Keywords: early poems; Dainty Monsters; cultural norms; destructive force; inhuman worlds; domination; dialectic of enlightenment; Peter; seven toes; point-blank narrative

Chapter.  9783 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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